Text: S.Hrg. 112-578 — NATIONAL PARKS LEGISLATION
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[Senate Hearing 112-578]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 112-578
NATIONAL PARKS LEGISLATION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS
ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
S. 1897 S. 2286
S. 2158 S. 2316
S. 2229 S. 2324
S. 2267 S. 2372
S. 2272 S. 3078
S. 2273 S. 3300
JUNE 27, 2012
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COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
JEFF BINGAMAN, New Mexico, Chairman
RON WYDEN, Oregon LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska
TIM JOHNSON, South Dakota JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington MIKE LEE, Utah
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont RAND PAUL, Kentucky
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan DANIEL COATS, Indiana
MARK UDALL, Colorado ROB PORTMAN, Ohio
JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire JOHN HOEVEN, North Dakota
AL FRANKEN, Minnesota DEAN HELLER, Nevada
JOE MANCHIN, III, West Virginia BOB CORKER, Tennessee
CHRISTOPHER A. COONS, Delaware
Robert M. Simon, Staff Director
Sam E. Fowler, Chief Counsel
McKie Campbell, Republican Staff Director
Karen K. Billups, Republican Chief Counsel
Subcommittee on National Parks
MARK UDALL, Colorado, Chairman
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana RAND PAUL, Kentucky
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan DANIEL COATS, Indiana
AL FRANKEN, Minnesota ROB PORTMAN, Ohio
JOE MANCHIN, III, West Virginia DEAN HELLER, Nevada
CHRISTOPHER A. COONS, Delaware BOB CORKER, Tennessee
Jeff Bingaman and Lisa Murkowski are Ex Officio Members of the
C O N T E N T S
Beehan, Thomas L., Mayor, City of Oak Ridge, and Chairman, Energy
Communities Alliance, Oak Ridge, TN............................ 27
Bingaman, Hon. Jeff, U.S. Senator From New Mexico................ 1
Carter, Derb S. Jr., Director, North Carolina Office, Southern
Environmental Law Center....................................... 38
Frost, Herbert, Associate Director, Natural Resources Stewardship
and Science, National Park Service, Department of the Interior. 3
Judge, Warren, Chairman, Dare County Board of Commissioners,
County of Dare, NC............................................. 31
Kolb, Ingrid, Director, Office of Management, Department of
Murkowski, Hon. Lisa, U.S. Senator From Alaska................... 2
Responses to additional questions................................ 49
Additional material submitted for the record..................... 53
NATIONAL PARKS LEGISLATION
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2012
Subcommittee on National Parks,
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 3:03 p.m. in
room SD-366, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Jeff
Bingaman, chairman, presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JEFF BINGAMAN, U.S. SENATOR FROM NEW
The Chairman. OK. Why don't we have the hearing come to
This is a hearing Senator Udall would normally Chair. He's
the Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks. But he's not
able to do it today. So I'm going to go ahead.
We're considering 12 bills that cover a variety of National
Park related issues. In the interest of time I won't read the
bill titles. Instead I'll include the complete list of bills in
the hearing record.
I'd like to briefly comment on one of the bills which is S.
3300. That's a bill that I've introduced along with Senators
Cantwell and Murray and Alexander and Udall, of New Mexico, to
establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. This
is a multi-state National Park with units in New Mexico,
Tennessee and Washington.
The Manhattan Project which was a top secret effort to
create an atomic bomb during the Second World War has been
described as the single, most significant event of the 20th
century. While its legacy is complicated, it changed the course
of history and is of national and international significance.
For those reasons I believe it's important for future
generations to learn about it and from it. By establishing
these sites in Los Alamos and Hanford and Oak Ridge as a
National Park, it's my hope that visitors will soon have
improved public access and a better understanding of the
historical significance of the Manhattan Project. There's
strong local support in Los Alamos.
In fact I'm advised that Heather McClenahan is here.
Where's Heather? She is the Executive Director of the Los
Alamos Historical Society. She's testifying in the House side
on this same legislation tomorrow, as I understand it.
So there is strong support in Los Alamos. I understand
there is also similar local enthusiasm in Washington State and
in Tennessee. We have worked for several months with the Park
Service and the Department of Energy to try to find the
appropriate language to allow the Park Service to protect and
interpret the historic resources while not interfering with the
mission of the Department of Energy.
We'll continue to work with the agencies to perfect the
bill as necessary. I hope we can get the bill ready for mark up
in the near future.
So let me call on Senator Murkowski for any statement she
has before I introduce our witnesses.
STATEMENT OF HON. LISA MURKOWSKI, U.S. SENATOR
Senator Murkowski. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As you are
filling in for the Chair of the Subcommittee here, I am filling
in for the ranking member, Senator Paul, who is also not able
to make it.
I appreciate the opportunity though to speak to a couple of
the bills that are on the calendar here this afternoon.
S. 2272 and S. 2273, both focus on probably the most
storied and photographed geographic feature in, certainly in
Alaska and perhaps in the country. Mount McKinley is the
tallest mountain in the United States. We, as Alaskans, aren't
shy about reminding folks about how big and how beautiful it is
and that it is ours.
In Alaska that mountain is referred to as something else.
We don't refer to it as Mount McKinley. We just call it Denali.
That's what we've always called it.
Denali is an Alaskan native word, an Athbascan word. It
means the ``high one.'' As you think about this incredible
mountain, you think that's pretty appropriately named.
All S. 2272 does it make that name official. I know that
the name Mount McKinley has some special significance to the
folks in Ohio because of President William McKinley. My
response to those folks is you're more than welcome to go right
on referring to the mountain as Mount McKinley, just as
Alaskans have always referred to the mountain as Denali. All
that's changing is that the Alaskan name is becoming,
technically, correct for an Alaskan landmark.
The other bill that I've introduced that is on the calendar
today is S. 2273. It's also a renaming piece of legislation. It
also revolves around the history of Denali.
Next June will mark the 100th year anniversary of the first
successful summit of the mountain. It's probably well past time
that we did something to permanently honor the man who did
that. The gentleman's name was Walter Harper. He's an Alaska
native. He was the first person to reach the summit of Denali.
He did it on Sunday, June 7, 1913.
So what this legislation does is renames the Talkeetna
Ranger Station in Alaska to the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger
Station. It's a station. This is the station where anybody who
is planning on climbing the mountain has to stop to get their
permit, get their mountain orientation. So it seems fitting to
me that hopeful Denali climbers get their mountain orientation
at a building named for the first man to ever successfully do
the same climb.
Now clearly these are little bills in the big picture of
things that we do around here. I understand that. But I also
understand, as I know the Chairman does, that it's the little
things that sometimes matter a great deal to our communities.
Making Denali the name that Alaskans use anyway, the
official name of America's tallest mountain means something to
Honoring a man like Walter Harper by renaming the ranger
station that serves as the base for all National Parks?
operation in Denali National Park, also means something.
So I thank the Chairman for giving me the chance to speak
on these 2 bills. Will look forward to the comments from the
The Chairman. Alright. We have 2 panels.
Our first panel is two Administration witnesses.
Mr. Herbert Frost, who is the Associate Director of the
National Resource Stewardship and Sciences in the National Park
Service in the Department of Interior. Thank you for being
Ms. Ingrid Kolb is the Director of the Office of Management
in the Department of Energy. Thank you for being here.
So why don't you folks proceed in which ever order you'd
like. Give us your views on the various bills pending before
the committee today. Then we'll have some questions.
STATEMENT OF HERBERT FROST, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, NATURAL
RESOURCES STEWARDSHIP AND SCIENCE, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. Frost. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to
appear before the subcommittee today to present the Department
of the Interior's view on the 12 bills that are on today's
agenda. I would like to submit our full statements on each of
these bills for the record and summarize the Department's
The Chairman. We'll include the full statement for these 2
witnesses and the witnesses on the second panel as well.
Mr. Frost. The Administration supports S. 3300. This bill
would establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park
in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico and Hanford,
Washington. This legislation would enable the National Park
Service to work in partnership with the Department of Energy to
ensure the preservation of key resources associated with the
Manhattan Project and to increase public awareness and
understanding of this consequential effort.
We appreciate the language specifically providing for
amendments to the initial agreement and the broad range of
authority for the Secretary of the Interior as these provisions
will give the National Park Service the flexibility to shape
the park over time and to provide the promotion and education
and interpretation related to the Park's purpose. We are
continuing to review the bill for any amendments that might be
The Department supports the following 3 bills with
amendments which are described in our full statements.
S. 1897, which would revise the boundaries of Gettysburg
National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Train Station.
S. 2229, which would authorize the issuance of right-of-way
permits for natural gas pipelines in Glacier National Park.
S. 2324, which would authorize a study of a segment of the
Neches River in the State of Texas for the potential addition
to the National Wild and Scenic River system.
The Department also supports S. 2316, which would designate
the Salt Pond Visitor Center at Cape Cod National Seashore as
the Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Salt Pond Visitor Center.
The Department has no objections to S. 2272 or S. 2273.
S. 2272 would designate a mountain in the State of Alaska
as Mount Denali.
S. 2273 would designate the Talkeetna Ranger Station in
Talkeetna, Alaska as the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger
The Department recommends that the committee defer action
on S. 2286 and S. 2158.
S. 2158 would establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway
National Heritage Area. The National Park Service has made a
preliminary finding that the feasibility study does not
demonstrate that the proposed area meets the National Heritage
Area study interim criteria. The NPS anticipates completing its
final review of the study within 1 month.
S. 2286 would designate certain segments of the Farmington
River and Salmon Brook in the State of Connecticut as
components of the National Wild and Scenic River System. We
recommend not taking action on the bill until the study is
S. 2267 would reauthorize funding for the Hudson River
Valley National Heritage Area for 10 years. We recommend that
S. 2267 be amended to authorize an extension to the Heritage
Area's funding until we have completed an evaluation and report
on its accomplishments and the future role of the National Park
Service in the Heritage Area. We also recommend enacting a
Heritage Area program legislation that standardizes timeframes
and funding for designated National Heritage Areas.
S. 3078 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to
install in the area of the World War II Memorial a suitable
plaque or inscription with the words President Franklin D.
Roosevelt prayed on July 6, 1944, the morning of D-Day. The
Department appreciates the efforts of Senator Portman to work
with the National Park Service on this legislation. If directed
by Congress pursuant to this legislation, the Park Service will
work to find an appropriate location for the plaque in
accordance with the Commemorative Works Act process, as
directed in Section Three of this legislation. We support the
continued application of the Commemorative Works Act as a
vehicle for citing and designing the plaque including important
design reviews and public consultation.
S. 2372 would overturn the off road vehicle management plan
at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and reinstate the defunct
interim strategy. The Department strongly opposes S. 2372
because we believe that the final ORV management plan and
special regulation will allow appropriate public use and access
at the seashore to the greatest extent possible while also
ensuring wildlife protection, providing a variety of visitor
use experiences, minimizing conflicts among various users and
promoting the safety of all visitors.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I'd be pleased
to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Frost follows:]
Prepared Statement of Herbert Frost, Associate Director, Natural
Resources Stewardship and Science, National Park Service, Department of
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the
opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on
S. 1897, a bill to add the historic Lincoln Train Station in the
Borough of Gettysburg and 45 acres at the base of Big Round Top to
Gettysburg National Military Park in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Department supports enactment of this legislation with a
Gettysburg National Military Park protects major portions of the
site of the largest battle waged during this nation's Civil War. Fought
in the first three days of July 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg resulted
in a victory for Union forces and successfully ended the second
invasion of the North by Confederate forces commanded by General Robert
E. Lee. Historians have referred to the battle as a major turning point
in the war--the ``High Water Mark of the Confederacy.'' It was also the
Civil War's bloodiest single battle, resulting in over 51,000 soldiers
killed, wounded, captured or missing.
The Soldiers' National Cemetery within the park was dedicated on
November 19, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln delivered his
immortal Gettysburg Address. The cemetery contains more than 7,000
interments including over 3,500 from the Civil War. The park currently
includes nearly 6,000 acres, with 26 miles of park roads and over 1,400
monuments, markers, and memorials.
Gettysburg's Lincoln Train Station was built in 1858 and is listed
on the National Register of Historic Places. The station served as a
hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg, and the wounded and the dead
were transported from Gettysburg through this station in the aftermath
of battle. President Abraham Lincoln arrived at this station when he
visited to give the Gettysburg Address.
Gettysburg National Military Park's 1999 General Management Plan
called for expanding cooperative relationships and partnerships with
the Borough of Gettysburg and other sites ``to ensure that resources
closely linked to the park, the battle, and the non-combatant civilian
involvement in the battle and its aftermath are appropriately protected
and used.'' In particular, the plan stated that the National Park
Service would initiate ``cooperation agreements with willing owners,
and seek the assistance of the Borough of Gettysburg and other
appropriate entities to preserve, operate and manage the Wills House
and Lincoln Train Station.''
The Borough of Gettysburg Interpretive Plan called for the Lincoln
Train Station to be used as a downtown information and orientation
center for visitors--where all park visitors would arrive after coming
downtown--to receive information and orientation to downtown historic
attractions, including the David Wills House. This is the house where
Lincoln stayed the night before delivering the Gettysburg Address. The
Interpretive Plan also called for rehabilitation of the Wills House,
which was added to the park's boundary through Public Law 106-290 in
October 2000, and is now a historic house museum in the borough and an
official site within Gettysburg National Military Park. Through a
Memorandum of Understanding, the David Wills House is operated by the
Gettysburg Foundation in conjunction with the National Park Service.
The Lincoln Train Station is next to the downtown terminus of
Freedom Transit, Gettysburg's shuttle system, which started operations
in July 2009 with a grant from the Federal Transit Administration in
the Department of Transportation.
In 2006, the Borough of Gettysburg completed rehabilitation of the
Lincoln Train Station with funds from a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
grant. Due to a lack of funds, however, the borough has been unable to
operate a visitor information and orientation center there. Through
formal vote of the Borough Council, the Borough of Gettysburg has asked
the National Park Service to take over the ownership and operations of
the train station. The anticipated acquisition cost for the completely
rehabilitated train station is approximately $772,000, subject to an
appraisal by the federal government. It is expected that funding to
acquire this land would not come from federal appropriations but would
be provided by non-governmental entities.
The park has a preliminary commitment from the Gettysburg
Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) to provide all staffing
requirements for operations of an information and orientation center in
the train station, thereby alleviating the park of staff costs.
Anticipated operating costs for the train station that will be the
responsibility of the NPS are limited to utility costs, with the rest
being paid by the Gettysburg CVB. In the event that the Gettysburg CVB
is unable to provide staffing and funding for operations, the NPS would
seek another park partner to cover these costs and requirements.
This legislation would also add 45 acres near Big Round Top along
Plum Run in Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, to the boundary of the
park. The 45-acre tract of land is adjacent to the Gettysburg National
Military Park and is within the Battlefield Historic District. The land
is at the southern base of Big Round Top at the southern end of the
Gettysburg battlefield. There were cavalry skirmishers in this area
during the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1863, but the real significance
is environmental. The tract has critical wetlands and wildlife habitat
related to Plum Run. Wayne and Susan Hill donated it to the Gettysburg
Foundation in April 2009. The Gettysburg Foundation plans to donate fee
title interest in the parcel to the National Park Service once it is
within the park boundary. It abuts land already owned by the National
The maps referenced on page two of the legislation have been
updated and are being submitted for the record. Our technical amendment
is to update the map reference to reflect a date of ``January 2010''
for both maps.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony. I would be pleased to
answer any questions you or members of the committee may have regarding
the Department's position on S.1897.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the
opportunity to appear before your committee to present the Department
of the Interior's views on S. 2158, a bill to establish the Fox-
Wisconsin Heritage Parkway National Heritage Area, and for other
The Department recommends that the committee defer action on S.
2158. The National Park Service (NPS) has made a preliminary finding
that the feasibility study, conducted by the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage
Parkway, does not demonstrate that the proposed area meets the
Service's national heritage area study interim criteria. The NPS
anticipates completing its final review of the study within one month.
In addition, the Department recommends deferring action on S. 2158
until program legislation is enacted that establishes criteria to
evaluate potentially qualified national heritage areas and a process
for the designation and administration of these areas. There are
currently 49 designated national heritage areas, yet there is no
authority in law that guides the designation and administration of
these areas. Program legislation would provide a much-needed framework
for evaluating proposed national heritage areas, offering guidelines
for successful planning and management, clarifying the roles and
responsibilities of all parties, and standardizing timeframes and
funding for designated areas.
S. 2158 would establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway National
Heritage Area (NHA), with the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway, a non-
profit organization, as the local coordinating entity. The legislation
includes standard language for national heritage area designation bills
regarding the proposed area's administration, management plan, and
funding. The proposed Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway NHA runs through
parts of 15 counties throughout Wisconsin and marks the path of Father
Jacques Marquette's and Louis Joliet's exploration from the Great
Lakes, through Wisconsin, to the Mississippi River, in 1673. Their
voyage eventually led to the establishment of European settlements in
the Mississippi River corridor. The proposed Fox-Wisconsin Heritage
Parkway NHA includes approximately 1,400 square miles of land in
central and southeastern Wisconsin, including Brown, Calumet, Columbia,
Crawford, Dane, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green Lake, Iowa, Marquette,
Outagamie, Richland, Sauk, Waushara, and Winnebago counties.
Prior to beginning any effort to designate an area as a national
heritage area, the National Park Service recommends that interested
community members or organizations undertake a feasibility study to
assess several factors, including: whether the landscape has an
assemblage of natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources that,
when linked together, tell a nationally important story; whether an
organization exists with the financial and organizational capacity to
coordinate heritage area activities; and, whether the level of support
for designation exists within the region.
The Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway organization prepared a
feasibility study in 2010. It did a great deal of research and
planning, and conducted extensive civic engagement activities across
the area which involved numerous organizations, agencies, businesses,
and individuals in discussions about the potential heritage area.
Although the National Park Service considers a strong level of
community support and a solid organizational framework to be important
ingredients for a successful heritage area, the primary consideration
for the NPS is whether a proposed area contains an assemblage of
natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources that, when linked
together, tell a nationally important story. The preliminary finding of
the NPS is that the proposed area does not meet this criteria.
This concludes my prepared remarks, Mr. Chairman. I would be happy
to answer any questions you or any other members of the Subcommittees
may have regarding this bill.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your
committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S.
2229, a bill to authorize the issuance of right-of-way permits for
natural gas pipelines in Glacier National Park, and for other purposes.
The Department supports S. 2229 with amendments. The Department
testified in support of H.R. 4606, an identical bill, before the House
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on June 8,
2012. S. 2229 would provide authority for the National Park Service to
grant a right-of-way permit for any natural gas pipeline that is
located within Glacier National Park as of March 1, 2012, subject to
Currently, there is only one natural gas pipeline that runs through
Glacier National Park. It was built in 1962 with the permission of the
park superintendent, who may not have known that there was no authority
to issue a permit for a gas pipeline. The pipeline passes within the
park boundary for approximately 3.5 miles in the right-of-way for U.S.
Highway 2. The line is near the southwestern boundary of the park, and
in close proximity both to the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, which
is designated as a Wild and Scenic River, and the Great Bear
Wilderness, managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the Flathead
National Forest. The pipeline provides natural gas to Kalispell,
Montana, and the Flathead Valley, as well as to some park facilities.
In 1990, a renewal of the permit was requested. The superintendent at
the time recognized that he did not have the proper authority to permit
this pipeline. NorthWestern Energy, which owns and operates this
pipeline, recently sought a legislative solution to provide the
In 2008, the Flathead National Forest received a request from
NorthWestern Energy to place another gas line alongside the existing
pipeline (a practice known as twinning). That new line would also pass
through Glacier National Park. NorthWestern Energy recently advised the
National Park Service that it does not plan to take action on this
proposal. However, if this proposal is revived at some point in the
future, we would be concerned about potential impacts to park resources
including the viewshed along US Highway 2, the Wild and Scenic River
Corridor, recommended wilderness, and vegetation. We are, therefore,
supportive of limiting permitting authority to the existing natural gas
pipeline, as provided for in the legislation.
We recommend amending the legislation in two ways. First, S. 2229
would allow the permitting of a 100-foot right-of-way (50 feet on
either side of centerline of the pipeline) through the park. We
recommend allowing the width of the proposed right-of-way to be
determined cooperatively by the National Park Service and NorthWestern
Energy, and described in a permit issued subsequent to the legislation,
rather than codified in the legislation itself. This approach would be
consistent with legislation passed in 2002 for existing and new natural
gas transmission lines in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and in
2005 natural gas pipeline legislation for Delaware Water Gap National
Recreation Area. And second, we recommend amending the bill to provide
consistency with laws (including regulations) and policies applicable
to rights-of-way for natural gas pipelines within units of the National
Park System by deleting the reference to 16 U.S.C. 5, because that law
addresses utility rights-of-way for other types of utilities than
natural gas pipelines. We would be happy to provide the Committee with
suggested language for these amendments.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I would be happy to
answer any additional questions you may have.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the
opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on
S. 2267, a bill to reauthorize the Hudson River Valley National
Heritage Area (NHA).
The Department recognizes the important work of the Hudson River
Valley National Heritage Area to preserve heritage resources in Hudson
River Valley between Yonkers and Troy, New York. We recommend that S.
2267 be amended to authorize an extension for heritage area program
funding until we have completed an Evaluation and Report on the
accomplishments of the area and the future role of the National Park
Service; and until heritage area program legislation is enacted that
standardizes timeframes and funding for designated national heritage
areas. Consistent with congressional directives in the FY 2009 and FY
2010 Interior Appropriations Acts, the Administration proposed in the
FY 2013 Budget focusing most national heritage area grants on recently
authorized areas and reducing and/or phasing out funds to well-
established recipients to encourage self-sufficiency. The Department
would like to work with Congress to determine the future federal role
when heritage areas reach the end of their authorized eligibility for
heritage program funding. We recommend that Congress enact national
heritage legislation during this Congress.
There are currently 49 designated national heritage areas, yet
there is no authority in law that guides the designation and
administration of these areas. Program legislation would provide a
much-needed framework for evaluating proposed national heritage areas,
offering guidelines for successful planning and management, clarifying
the roles and responsibilities of all parties, and standardizing
timeframes and funding for designated areas.
S. 2267, as introduced, would extend the authorization of federal
funding for Hudson River Valley for an additional 10 years.
The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area was established in
1996 by Public Law 104-333. The heritage area includes 250 communities
in ten counties bordering the Hudson River for 154 miles of tidal
estuary. This includes three million acres of the Hudson Highlands, the
Catskill Mountains, rolling farmland and compact villages, as well as
small cities and hamlets. The region extends from the confluence of the
Mohawk and Hudson Rivers, south to the northern border of New York
The mission of this national heritage area is to recognize,
preserve and promote the natural and cultural resources of the Hudson
River Valley. This is accomplished through a voluntary partnership with
communities and citizens, and local, state and federal agencies
emphasizing public access, economic development, regional planning and
Public Law 104-333 designated the Hudson River Valley Greenway
Communities Council and the Greenway Heritage Conservancy, Inc. as the
local coordinating entities for the NHA. The heritage area management
entities facilitate public private partnerships for the preservation of
heritage resources and work closely with National Park Service (NPS)
staff at Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites. The heritage
area's work focuses on regional initiatives for heritage programming,
interpretation, and education, preservation and resource stewardship,
heritage development and infrastructure, and planning and design.
During its 15 years of existence, the Hudson River Valley National
Heritage Area has a significant record of achievement. It has taken the
lead on initiatives such as Heritage Weekend which gives visitors the
opportunity to discover--or rediscover--many historic, architectural
and natural treasures in the state. The heritage area staff has worked
tirelessly to connect sites and schools together to create place-based
curriculum that can be replicated and used by others through a website
that provides academic resources regarding the heritage and culture of
the Hudson River Valley. The staff has facilitated the creation of
region-wide ``shows'' focusing on the NHA's nature and culture sub-
themes, printed map and guides, and advanced a graphic identity at
partner sites. They continue to help communities and trail groups
establish a system of trails that link cultural and historic sites,
parks, open spaces, and community centers as well as providing public
access to the Hudson River.
We recommend a technical amendment to the long title of the bill to
make it clear that the bill would extend the authorization for Federal
funding for the heritage area instead of reauthorizing the heritage
area. While the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area faces a
sunset for its Federal funding, its National Heritage Area designation
will not sunset.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony. I would be pleased to
answer any questions you or other members of the committee may have.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the
Department of the Interior's views on S. 2272, a bill to designate a
mountain in the State of Alaska as Mount Denali.
The National Park Service appreciates the long history and public
interest for both the name Mount McKinley and the traditional
Athabascan name, Denali. The Department respects the choice made by
this legislation, and does not object to S. 2272.
Located in what is now Denali National Park and Preserve, the
highest peak in North America has been known by many names. The
National Park Service's administrative history of the park notes that,
``The Koyukon called it Deenaalee, the Lower Tanana named it
Deenaadheet or Deennadhee, the Dena'ina called it Dghelay Ka'a, and at
least six other Native groups had their own names for it.
``In the late 18th century various Europeans came calling, and
virtually everyone who passed by was moved to comment on it. The
Russians called it Bulshaia or Tenada, and though explorers from other
nations were less specific, even the most hard-bitten adventurers were
in awe of its height and majesty.
``No American gave it a name until Densmore's Mountain appeared in
the late 1880s, and the name that eventually stuck--Mount McKinley--was
not applied until the waning days of the nineteenth century,'' a
gesture of support to then-President William McKinley.
In 1975, the State of Alaska officially recognized Denali as the
name of the peak, and requested action by the U.S. Board on Geographic
Names to do the same.
In 1980, Congress changed the name of Mount McKinley National Park
to Denali National Park and Preserve (P.L. 96-487, Section 202), but
did not act on the name change for the mountain.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony, and I would be happy to
answer any questions you or other members may have.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify on S. 2273,
which would designate the Talkeetna Ranger Station in Talkeetna,
Alaska, as the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station.
As the 100th anniversary of the 1913 summit climb of Walter Harper
approaches, the National Park Service has no objection to S. 2273,
which would name the Denali National Park and Preserve's South District
Ranger Station in Talkeetna, Alaska, as the Walter Harper Talkeetna
Mr. Harper grew up in Alaska, a child of Arthur Harper, a Scottish
trader and prospector, and Jennie Harper, an Athabascan Indian from the
Koyukuk region. As a young man, he served as an interpreter and guide
for the far-flung ministry of Hudson Stuck, an Episcopal archdeacon.
He joined Stuck on an arduous trip in 1913 to reach the summit of
North America's highest peak. For nearly three months, the group moved
slowly south from Fairbanks and into the high mountains of the Alaska
Range. On June 7, 1913, Walter Harper, 21, became the first man to set
foot on the summit of Denali, the Athabascan name for the peak, meaning
the High One. The archdeacon's journal described their approach: ``With
keen excitement we pushed on. Walter, who had been in the lead all day,
was the first to scramble up; a Native Alaskan, he is the first human
being to set foot upon the top of Alaska's greatest mountain, and he
had well earned the honor.''
Since 1913, thousands of climbers have aimed for the summit. Unlike
Mr. Harper, today the vast majority begin their expeditions with an
airplane ride out of Talkeetna on the south side of the Alaska Range.
The National Park Service ranger station there serves as an orientation
center for climbers and other visitors to the Denali region. The
community is proud of its varied history as a railroad town, a jumping
off point for miners, and in the past several decades as the take-off
point for climbing expeditions.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony, and I would be happy to
answer any questions you or other members may have.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your
committee today to present the views of the Department of the Interior
on S. 2286, a bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate
certain segments of the Farmington River and Salmon Brook in the State
of Connecticut as components of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and
for other purposes.
The Department has preliminarily concluded through the National
Park Service's draft study of the Lower Farmington River and Salmon
Brook that the segments proposed for designation under this bill are
eligible for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
However, we recommend that the committee defer action on S. 2286 until
the study is completed, which is consistent with the Department's
general policy on legislation designating additions to the Wild and
Scenic Rivers System when a study of the subject is pending.
S. 2286 would designate 35.3 miles of the Farmington River and the
entire 26.4 miles of its major tributary, Salmon Brook, as part of the
Wild and Scenic Rivers System, to be administered by the Secretary of
the Interior. The segments would be managed in accordance with the
Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Management Plan (June 2011)
with the Secretary coordinating administration and management with a
locally based management committee, as specified in the plan. The bill
would authorize the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements with
the State of Connecticut, the adjoining communities, and appropriate
local planning and environmental organizations. S. 2286 would also make
an adjustment to the upper Farmington Wild and Scenic River, which was
designated in 1994, by adding 1.1 miles to the lower end of that 14-
S. 2286 would complete the wild and scenic river designation of the
Farmington River in Connecticut by designating all of the mainstem
Farmington River segments found to meet the criteria of eligibility and
suitability. At the same time, S. 2286 would provide for the continued
operation of one existing hydroelectric facility--Rainbow Dam in
Windsor--and allow for potential hydroelectric development of existing
dams in the Collinsville stretch of the river, which is currently the
subject of an active Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
licensing proceeding sponsored by the Town of Canton.
P.L. 109-370, the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Study Act
of 2005, authorized the study of the segments proposed for designation
in S. 2286. The National Park Service conducted the study in close
cooperation with the adjoining communities, the State of Connecticut,
the Farmington River Watershed Association, the Stanley Black & Decker
Corporation (owner of Rainbow Dam) and other interested local parties.
Although the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act requires the development of a
comprehensive river management plan within three years of the date of
designation, it has become the practice of the National Park Service to
prepare this plan as part of a study of potential wild and scenic
rivers when much of the river runs through private lands. This allows
the National Park Service to consult widely with local landowners,
federal and state land management agencies, local governments, river
authorities, and other groups that have interests related to the river
prior to any recommendation for designation. Early preparation of the
plan also assures input from these entities as well as users of the
river on the management strategies that would be needed to protect the
Technical assistance provided as a part of the study made possible
the development of the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook
Management Plan (June 2011). This plan is based primarily around local
partner actions designed to guide the management of the Lower
Farmington River and Salmon Brook with or without a National Wild and
Scenic River designation.
While the study has not been finalized, it has preliminarily
concluded that the proposed segments of the Lower Farmington River and
Salmon Brook are eligible and suitable for inclusion in the National
Wild and Scenic Rivers System because of their free-flowing nature and
outstandingly remarkable geology, water quality, biological diversity,
cultural landscape, recreation values and local authority to protect
and enhance these values. These findings substantiate the widely held
view of the Farmington River as Connecticut's premier free-flowing
river resource for a diversity of natural and cultural values,
including one of New England's most significant whitewater boating
runs, regionally unique freshwater mussel populations, and outstanding
examples of archaeological and historical sites and districts spanning
Native American, colonial and early manufacturing periods. Salmon Brook
is, in its own right, highly significant for outstanding water quality,
significant cold water fishery, and Atlantic salmon restoration
If S. 2286 is enacted, the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook
would be administered as a partnership wild and scenic river, similar
to several other designations in the Northeast, including the upper
Farmington River and the Eightmile River in Connecticut. This approach
emphasizes local and state management solutions, and has proven
effective as a means of protecting outstandingly remarkable natural,
cultural and recreational resource values without the need for direct
federal management or land acquisition.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would be happy
to answer any questions you or other committee members may have
regarding this bill.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the
opportunity to appear before you to present the views of the Department
of the Interior on S. 2316, a bill to designate the Salt Pond Visitor
Center at Cape Cod National Seashore as the ``Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.
Salt Pond Visitor Center'', and for other purposes.
The Department supports enactment of S. 2316.
S. 2316 would recognize the contributions that former Speaker
Thomas (Tip) P. O'Neill, Jr. made toward the protection of the Cape Cod
National Seashore by naming the Salt Pond Visitor Center after him. In
1958, Representative Tip O'Neill became one of the first members to
support protection of lands on Cape Cod as a national seashore through
introduction of legislation in the 85th Congress. This important
legislation proposed establishing a 40-mile long national park so every
American had the ability to enjoy the marshes, ponds, and wildlife, and
pristine sandy beach of Cape Cod.
Representative O'Neill continued these efforts by cosponsoring
bills in the 86th and 87th Congress, testifying at hearings, and
advocating for support of the legislation that led to Public Law 87-
126, which established Cape Cod National Seashore when it was signed
into law by 2 President John F. Kennedy on August 7, 1961. Tip O'Neill
publicly acknowledged that the legislation to establish the national
seashore was a group effort and praised the commitment and the
contributions of Rep. Edward Boland, Rep. James Burke, Rep. Hastings
Keith and President Kennedy.
The national seashore was formally established in 1966 and
Representative O'Neill attended the May 30, 1966 dedication of the Salt
Pond Visitor Center. Tip O'Neill, Jr. and his family maintained a home
in Harwich Port, on Cape Cod and he was a frequent visitor to the
national seashore during his tenure in Congress and during his
While the National Park Service Management Policies 2006 state that
the National Park Service will discourage and curtail the use and
proliferation of commemorative works, there are two exceptions. One is
when Congress specifically authorizes an exception and the other is
when there is a compelling justification for the recognition, there is
a strong association between the park and the person being
commemorated, and at least five years have elapsed since the death of
Tip O'Neill's more than fifty-year commitment to public service,
including 34 years as a Member of Congress has made him an honored and
esteemed friend to the mission of the National Park Service in
preserving and protecting our nation's natural, historic, and cultural
resources. We believe this legislation is an appropriate way to
recognize Thomas P. O'Neill's role in protecting the national parks of
Massachusetts and his relationship to Cape Cod National Seashore.
Mr. Chairman this concludes my statement and I will be happy to
answer any questions that members of the committee may have.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your
committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S.
2324, a bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate a
segment of the Neches River in the State of Texas for potential
addition to the National Wild and Scenic River System, and for other
The Department supports S. 2324, with amendments. The river segment
proposed for study exhibits the types of qualities and resource values
that could make it a worthy and important candidate for potential
addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. However, we
believe priority should be given to the 36 previously authorized
studies for potential units of the National Park System, potential new
National Heritage Areas, and potential additions to the National Trails
System and National Wild and Scenic Rivers System that have not yet
been transmitted to Congress.
This bill would designate a 225-mile segment of the main stem of
the Neches River from the dam forming Lake Palestine in Anderson and
Cherokee Counties, Texas, to the flood pool elevation of the B.A.
Steinhagen Reservoir in Jasper and Tyler Counties, Texas, to be studied
for potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
This portion of the Neches River retains much of its wild character,
and is mostly in a free-flowing state. The upper Neches River corridor
contains exceptional wildlife habitat and its location in the heart of
the Central Flyway makes it a crucial migratory pathway for ducks,
geese, and songbirds. While portions of the river's bottomland hardwood
forests have produced timber for decades, they are among the least
disturbed in Texas. This section of the Neches River also provides
vital habitat for fish and other aquatic animals and supports high-
quality boating, fishing and a variety of outdoor recreational
activities. Wild and Scenic River designation could support all these
While the segment of the river that is proposed for study flows
through the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge, the Angelina and
Davey Crockett National Forests, and State-managed lands, much of this
segment of the river runs through private lands. If this portion of the
Neches River were designated as a Wild and Scenic River, a
comprehensive management plan would be needed and would be developed as
part of the study. Although the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act requires the
development of a comprehensive river management plan within three years
of the date of designation, it has become the practice of the National
Park Service to prepare this plan as part of a study of potential wild
and scenic rivers when much of the river runs through private lands.
This allows the National Park Service to consult widely with local
landowners, federal and state land management agencies, local
governments, river authorities, and other groups that have interests
related to the river prior to any recommendation for designation. Early
preparation of the plan also assures input from these entities as well
as users of the river on the management strategies that would be needed
to protect the river's resources.
We believe there is strong local support for protecting the river
system and for studying the river for potential inclusion in the
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Based on this local support and
the presence of significant natural, cultural and recreational
resources, the National Park Service believes that a Wild and Scenic
River study conducted in close partnership with local communities and
established partners is consistent with the purposes of the Wild and
Scenic Rivers Act.
We recommend amending the legislation by removing the provisions
under Section 2 related to private property and recreation. It is
premature to place restrictions on the ability of the National Park
Service to administer the river before we have completed a study
determining whether the river can meet the requirements for designation
and before we have identified the types of preservation or management
strategies that are necessary and appropriate to protect the river's
resources. We would be happy to provide the Committee with suggested
language for these amendments.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I would be happy to
answer any additional questions you may have.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the
opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the
Interior's views on S. 2372, a bill entitled ``to authorize pedestrian
and motorized vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Recreational Area, and for other purposes.''
The Department strongly opposes S. 2372. This bill would reinstate
the 2007 Interim Protected Species Management Strategy (Interim
Strategy) governing off-road vehicle (ORV) use at Cape Hatteras
National Seashore (Seashore). In response to a lawsuit challenging its
adequacy, the Interim Strategy was modified by a court-approved Consent
Decree on April 30, 2008. The Seashore was managed under the Consent
Decree through 2011. Meanwhile, the final ORV Management Plan /
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and special regulation went into
effect on February 15, 2012.
The Department supports allowing appropriate public use and access
at the Seashore to the greatest extent possible, while also ensuring
protection for the Seashore's wildlife and providing a variety of
visitor use experiences, minimizing conflicts among various users, and
promoting the safety of all visitors. We strongly believe that the
final ORV management plan and special regulation will accomplish these
objectives far better than the defunct Interim Strategy.
The final ORV management plan for the first time provides long-term
guidance for the management of ORV use and the protection of affected
wildlife species at the Seashore. The plan is designed to not only
provide diverse visitor experience opportunities, manage ORV use in a
manner appropriate to a unit of the National Park System, and provide a
science-based approach to the conservation of protected wildlife
species, but also to adapt to changing conditions over the life-span of
the plan. It includes a five-year periodic review process that will
enable the NPS to systematically evaluate the plan's effectiveness and
make any necessary changes.
The Seashore's dynamic coastal processes create important habitats,
including breeding sites for many species of beach-nesting birds, among
them the federally listed threatened piping plover, the state-listed
threatened gull-billed tern, and a number of species of concern
including the common tern, least tern, black skimmer, and the American
oystercatcher. All of these species experienced declines in breeding
population at Cape Hatteras over the 10-20 years prior to the
implementation of the Consent Decree in 2008. For example, in 1989 the
Seashore had 15 breeding pairs of piping plovers; and by 2001-2005,
that number had dropped to only 2-3 pairs attempting to nest each year.
The numbers of colonial waterbird nests within the Seashore also
plummeted from 1,204 nests in 1999 to 320 nests in 2007.
Under the National Park Service Organic Act, the Endangered Species
Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Seashore's enabling act, and
National Park Service (NPS) regulations and policies, the NPS has an
affirmative responsibility to conserve and protect all of these
species, as well as the other resources and values of the Seashore.
Executive Order 11644 (1972), amended by Executive Order 11989 (1977),
requires the NPS to issue regulations to designate specific trails and
areas for ORV use based upon resource protection, visitor safety, and
minimization of conflicts among uses of agency lands. The regulation
that the NPS subsequently promulgated (36 C.F.R. Sec. 4.10) requires
the NPS to designate any routes or areas for ORV use by special
regulation and in compliance with Executive Order 11644.
The special regulation that went into effect on February 15 brings
the Seashore into compliance with that regulation and with the
Executive Orders and other applicable laws and policies, after many
years of non-compliance. In addition to resource impacts, the approved
plan addresses past inconsistent management of ORV use, user conflicts,
and safety concerns in a comprehensive and consistent manner.
The Interim Strategy was never intended to be in place over the
long-term. At the time it was developed, the Seashore had no consistent
approach to species protection and no ORV management plan or special
regulation in place. While the Interim Strategy took an initial step
toward establishing a science-based approach, key elements such as
buffer distances for American oystercatchers and colonial waterbirds,
and the lack of night driving restrictions during sea turtle nesting
season, were inconsistent with the best available science. The 2006
USFWS biological opinion for the Interim Strategy indicated that it
would cause adverse effects to federally listed species, but found no
jeopardy to those species mainly because of the limited duration of
implementation (expected to be no later than the end of 2009).
Similarly, the 2007 NPS Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for
the Interim Strategy indicated the action had the potential to
adversely impact federally listed species and state-listed species of
concern, but found that a more detailed analysis (an EIS) was not
needed because of the limited period of time that the Interim Strategy
would be implemented.
By contrast, the species-specific buffer distances and the night
driving restrictions contained in both the Consent Decree and in the
plan/EIS are based on scientific studies and peer-reviewed management
guidelines such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Piping
Plover and Loggerhead Turtle Recovery Plans, and the U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS) Open-File Report 2009-1262 (also referred to as the
``USGS protocols,'') on the management of species of special concern at
the Seashore. Buffer distances for state-listed species are based on
relevant scientific studies recommended by the North Carolina Wildlife
Resources Commission, USFWS, and USGS.
Although breeding success depends on a number of factors, with the
measures in place under the Consent Decree, there has been a striking
improvement in the condition of protected beach-nesting wildlife
species. The Seashore has experienced a record number of piping plover
pairs and fledged chicks, American oystercatcher fledged chicks, least
tern nests, and improved nesting results for other species of colonial
waterbirds. The number of sea turtle nests also significantly
increased, from an annual average of 77.3 between 2000-2007 to an
average of 129 between 2008-2011. These improvements occurred even
though many miles of beach remained open, unaffected by species
protection measures, and Seashore visitation numbers remained stable.
During the preparation of the EIS for the management plan, the NPS
evaluated the potential environmental impacts of long-term
implementation of the Interim Strategy. The analysis determined that if
the Interim Strategy were continued into the future, it would result in
long-term, moderate to major adverse impacts to piping plovers,
American oystercatchers, and colonial waterbirds, and long-term, major
adverse impacts to sea turtles. Impacts to sea turtles and three
species of colonial waterbirds had the potential to rise to the level
of ``impairment,'' which would violate the National Park Service
Because the number of nesting birds has increased significantly
since 2007, if the Interim Strategy were to be reinstated, it could be
counterproductive to visitor access. Many popular destinations, such as
Cape Point and the inlet spits, would still experience resource
protection closures, particularly when highly mobile piping plover and
American oystercatcher chicks are present. Several of the beach-nesting
bird species at the Seashore may renest several times during the same
season if eggs or very young chicks are lost. Under the Consent Decree,
with its science-based buffers, there has been a noticeable reduction
in the number of renesting attempts for piping plovers and American
oystercatchers, which means the duration of closures is typically
shorter. No matter which management approach is in effect, the birds
will continue to attempt to nest at these sites, even if resource
protection is inadequate, because that is where the most suitable
habitat is located. The Interim Strategy would allow a higher level of
human disturbance in proximity to nests and chicks at these key sites,
which increases the chances that nests and young chicks will be lost,
which in turn increases the likelihood that birds will renest one or
more time at those sites. This could extend the length of time that any
particular site would be closed due to breeding activity, even if the
apparent size of the closure is smaller than that under the ORV plan or
In addition to reinstating the Interim Strategy, S. 2372 provides
authority for additional restrictions only for species listed as
``endangered'' under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and only for
the shortest possible time and on the smallest possible portions of the
Seashore. This would conflict with numerous other laws and mandates
including the National Park Service Organic Act, the Migratory Bird
Treaty Act, the Seashore's enabling act, the aforementioned Executive
Orders, and NPS regulations implementing these laws, which provide for
the protection of other migratory bird species and other park
S. 2372 also provides that the protection of endangered species at
Cape Hatteras shall not be greater than the restrictions in effect for
that species at any other national seashore. Species protection
measures cannot reasonably be compared from seashore to seashore
without considering the specific circumstances at each site and the
context provided by the number and variety of protected species
involved, the levels of ORV use, and the underlying restrictions
provided by the respective ORV management plans and special
regulations. Even though Cape Hatteras has a wider variety of beach
nesting wildlife species than Cape Cod or Assateague, for example, its
plan actually allows for a much higher level of ORV use on larger
portions of the Seashore. It would be neither reasonable nor
biologically sound for Cape Hatteras to use less protective measures if
they were designed for a location where the level of ORV use is much
lower to begin with. Nor does it appear that such an arbitrary approach
could possibly comply with the ``peer-reviewed science'' requirement
imposed elsewhere in the bill. The Cape Hatteras plan was specifically
designed to be effective for the circumstances at Cape Hatteras.
The bill would require, to the maximum extent possible, that
pedestrian and vehicle access corridors be provided around closures
implemented to protect wildlife nesting areas. This concept was
thoroughly considered during the preparation of the plan and EIS. The
plan already allows for such access corridors when not in conflict with
species protection measures. But because of the Seashore's typically
narrow beaches, and the concentrations of nests at the best available
habitat near the inlets and Cape Point, nesting areas are often close
to the shoreline, and access corridors cannot always be allowed without
defeating the fundamental purpose of such closures, which is to protect
beach-nesting wildlife. Several species of shorebirds that nest at the
Seashore have highly mobile chicks, which can move considerable
distances from nests to foraging sites. Inadequate resource closures in
the past have resulted in documented cases of human-caused loss or
abandonment of nests and chick fatalities. Corridors that cut through a
resource closure area would essentially undermine the function of the
closure and render it compromised or even useless.
Finally, the final ORV management plan/EIS and special regulation,
are the products of an intensive five-year long planning process that
included a high level of public participation through both the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and negotiated rulemaking,
including four rounds of public comment opportunities. The NPS received
more than 15,000 individual comments on the draft plan/EIS and more
than 21,000 individual comments on the proposed special regulation. In
completing the final ORV management plan/EIS and special regulation,
the NPS considered all comments, weighed competing interests and
ensured compliance with all applicable laws.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony. I would be glad to
answer any questions that you or other members of the subcommittee may
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your
committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S.
3078, a bill which directs the Secretary of the Interior to install in
the area of the World War II Memorial in the District of Columbia a
suitable plaque or an inscription with the words that President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt prayed with the United States on June 6,
1944, the morning of D-Day.
The Department appreciates the importance of faith in the lives of
Americans across this country, the leadership of President Roosevelt,
and the courage and sacrifices of Americans during World War II and
today. The World War II Memorial recognizes a period of unprecedented
national unity during the defining moment of the twentieth century, and
is devoted to the service, commitment, and shared sacrifice of
The Department appreciates the efforts by the sponsor, Senator Rob
Portman, to work with the National Park Service (NPS) on this
legislation. S. 3078 proposes adding a commemorative work in the area
of the existing World War II Memorial. We support the continued
application of the Commemorative Works Act (CWA). Section 2 of this
bill states that the Secretary of the Interior shall design, procure,
prepare and install the plaque or inscription, thus allowing the NPS to
determine the placement and design of the plaque. However, Section 3 of
the bill requires a different method of designing and locating the
memorial through the CWA. The CWA process incorporates important design
reviews and public consultation. We support retaining the CWA as the
vehicle for siting and designing this plaque.
The World War II Memorial was authorized on May 23, 1993, by Public
Law 103-32. In 1994, Congress approved its placement in the area
containing the National Mall in Public Law 103-422. Its location at the
site of the Rainbow Pool was approved in 1995 by the NPS on behalf of
the Secretary of the Interior, the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), and
the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). In July 1997, the CFA
and the NCPC reaffirmed prior approvals of the Rainbow Pool site in
recognition of the significance of World War II as the single-most
defining event of the 20th Century for Americans and the world. Even
so, there were challenges to the establishment of this memorial. The
design we see today was painstakingly arrived upon after years of
public deliberations and spirited public debate.
The National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (NCMAC) reviewed
a proposal similar to the one before the Committee today at its meeting
on September 14, 2011, and determined that no additional elements
should be inserted into this carefully designed Memorial. The American
Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), charged by the Congress in Public
Law 103-32 to design and build the World War II Memorial, is
represented on the NCMAC, and thus concurred with that determination.
If directed by Congress pursuant to this legislation, the NPS will
work to find an appropriate location for the plaque in accordance with
the CWA process, as directed in Section 3 of this legislation.
That concludes our prepared testimony on S. 3078, and we would be
happy to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of
the Department of the Interior on S. 3300, a bill to establish the
Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los
Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington, and for other purposes.
The Administration supports S. 3300. The development of the atomic
bomb through the Manhattan Project was one of the most transformative
events in our nation's history: it ushered in the atomic age, changed
the role of the United States in the world community, and set the stage
for the Cold War. This legislation would enable the National Park
Service to work in partnership with Department of Energy to ensure the
preservation of key resources associated with the Manhattan Project and
to increase public awareness and understanding of this consequential
S. 3300 would require the establishment of the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park as a unit of the National Park System within
one year of enactment, during which time the Secretary of the Interior
and the Secretary of Energy would enter into an agreement on the
respective roles of the two departments. The unit would consist of one
or more named resources located in Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, or Hanford.
The National Historical Park would be established by the Secretary of
the Interior by publication of a Federal Register notice within 30 days
after the agreement is made between the two secretaries.
The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire
the named resources in Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, or Hanford. It would also
allow the Secretary to acquire land in the vicinity of the park for
visitor and administrative facilities. The bill would provide authority
for the Secretary to enter into agreements with other Federal agencies
to provide public access to, and management, interpretation, and
historic preservation of, historically significant resources associated
with the Manhattan Project; to provide technical assistance for
Manhattan Project resources not included within the park; and to enter
into cooperative agreements and accept donations related to park
purposes. The Secretary of Energy would be authorized to accept
donations to help preserve and provide access to Manhattan Project
S. 3300 is based on the recommendations developed through the
special resource study for the Manhattan Project Sites that was
authorized by Congress in 2004 and transmitted to Congress in July
2011. The study, which was conducted by the National Park Service in
consultation with the Department of Energy, determined that resources
at Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, and Hanford, met the National Park Service's
criteria of national significance, suitability, feasibility, and the
need for Federal management for designation as a unit of the National
Park System. S. 3300 assigns the respective roles and responsibilities
of the National Park Service and the Department of Energy as envisioned
in the study: the National Park Service would use its expertise in the
areas of interpretation and education to increase public awareness and
understanding of the story, while the Department of Energy would
maintain full responsibility for operations, maintenance, and
preservation of historic Manhattan Project properties already under its
jurisdiction, along with full responsibility for any environmental and
safety hazards related to the properties.
Because the Department of Energy would maintain and operate the
primary facilities associated with the Manhattan Project National
Historical Park, the study estimated that the National Park Service's
annual operation and maintenance costs for the three sites together
would range from $2.45 million to $4 million. It also estimated that
completing the General Management Plan for the park would cost an
estimated $750,000. Costs of acquiring lands or interests in land, or
developing facilities, would be estimated during the development of the
General Management Plan. The Department of Energy has not yet assessed
fully the operational difficulties in terms of security and public
health and safety, applicable statutory and regulatory requirements,
and the potential new cost of national park designation at the
sensitive national security and cleanup sites.
The Department anticipates that the initial agreement between the
two departments likely would be fairly limited in scope, given the
bill's one-year timeframe for executing an agreement that would enable
the Secretary of the Interior to establish the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park. We appreciate the language specifically
providing for amendments to the agreement and a broad range of
authorities for the Secretary of the Interior, as these provisions
would give the National Park Service the flexibility to shape the park
over time and to maximize the promotion of education and interpretation
related to the park's purpose.
The flexibility is particularly important because managing a park
with such complex resources, in partnership with another Federal
agency, at three sites across the country, will likely bring
unanticipated challenges. Fortunately, we have already begun a
partnership with the Department of Energy regarding the Manhattan
Project resources through our coordinated work on the study. If this
legislation is enacted, we look forward to building a stronger
partnership that will enable us to meet the challenges ahead.
While we support S. 3300, there are some areas where we would like
to recommend amendments, and we are continuing to review the bill for
any technical issues. We would be happy to work with the committee to
develop the appropriate language and will provide our recommendations
in the near future.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I would be happy to
answer any questions you may have.
The Chairman. Thank you very much.
Ms. Kolb, go right ahead.
STATEMENT OF INGRID KOLB, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT,
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Ms. Kolb. Thanks.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is
Ingrid Kolb. I serve as the Director of the Office of
Management at the U.S. Department of Energy. One of the primary
responsibilities of my organization is to ensure that the
cultural resources and historic preservation activities across
the Department are coordinated.
We are also the office that's leading the effort to
coordinate with the National Park Service on the proposed
Manhattan Project National Historical Park. I'm very pleased to
be here today to discuss the proposed park and the proposed S.
The Manhattan Project National Park Study Act, Public Law
108-340 directed the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation
with the Department of Energy, to conduct a special resource
study to determine the flexibility of designating one or more
Manhattan Project sites as a unit of the National Park Service.
A park, the legislation noted, would have to be compatible with
maintaining the security, productivity and management goals of
the Department of Energy as well as public health, safety and
In preparing the study the Department's Office of
Management was an active partner with the National Park Service
and our staff fully participated by providing information,
input, advice and comments. Following public meetings,
extensive assessments of potential Park boundaries and
assessments of the integrity of the historical resources, the
Department and the National Park Service agreed that a park was
feasible, that it met the suitability requirements for creating
a new park and that it should be established.
In October 2010 the National Park Service Director,
Jonathan Jarvis, concurred on the study which contained a
recommendation for a 3 site park at Oak Ridge, Tennessee,
Hanford, Washington and Los Alamos, New Mexico. The Department
of Energy would continue to manage and maintain its properties
and control access to them and ensure safety and security. The
National Park Service would provide interpretation, consult
with the Department on preservation issues and establish
visitor center and station rangers within the 3 communities.
In March 2011, Deputy Secretary of Energy, Dan Poneman,
concurred on the findings of the study and provided assurances
to the National Park Service that the Department would retain
full access control to its properties in accordance with its
mission and security requirements.
In a letter to the Park Service the Deputy Secretary wrote
and I quote. ``We look forward to collaborating with the
National Park Service should Congress pass legislation
establishing a Manhattan Project Park.'' He also noted that the
Department of Energy is proud of its Manhattan Project heritage
and recognizes that this partnership with the National Park
Service would bring one of the most significant events in the
20th Century to a wider public audience.
In July 2011, the Secretary of the Interior, along with the
Department of Energy's concurrence, submitted a letter to the
Congress recommending the establishment of the Manhattan
Project National Historic Park. The establishment of this park
will represent a new era for the Department of Energy
particularly in certain areas of our sites that have been
largely off limits to the public to date due to national
security concerns and potential impacts to our ongoing
missions. The Department has not yet assessed fully the
operational difficulties in terms of security and public health
and safety and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements
and the potential new costs of such a park.
However, the proposed legislation, we believe, would
provide the Department and the Department of the Interior with
the necessary flexibility to establish timelines, boundaries
and a suitable management plan for establishing the park. We
welcome the leadership, Mr. Chairman, that you have shown in
this area and the subcommittee in telling the important story
of the Manhattan Project. We look forward to working with you
and the Subcommittee as this legislation advances.
That concludes my testimony. I'm happy to answer any
questions you may have.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Kolb follows:]
Prepared Statement of Ingrid Kolb, Director, Office of Management,
Department of Energy
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, my name is Ingrid
Kolb. I serve as the Director, Office of Management at the U.S.
Department of Energy. As part of our programmatic responsibilities, the
Office of Management coordinates cultural resources and historic
preservation activities across the Department and is the lead office
coordinating DOE participation in the proposed Manhattan Project
National Historical Park. I am pleased to be here today to discuss the
proposed park and S. 3300, a bill to establish the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park.
The Manhattan Project National Park Study Act, Public Law 108-340,
directed the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the
Secretary of Energy, to conduct a special resource study to determine
the feasibility of designating one or more Manhattan Project sites as a
unit of the National Park Service. A park, the legislation noted, would
have to be compatible with ``maintaining the security, productivity,
and management goals of the Department of Energy,'' as well as public
health and safety. In preparing the study, the Department's Office of
Management was an active partner with the National Park Service, and
its staff participated fully, providing information, input, and
Following public meetings at the sites, extensive assessments of
potential park boundaries and integrity of historical resources, the
Department and the National Park Service agreed that a park was
feasible, met the suitability requirement for creating a new park, and
should be established. In October 2010, National Park Service Director
concurred on the study, which contained the recommendation for a three-
site park in Oak Ridge Tennessee, Hanford, Washington, and Los Alamos,
New Mexico, in partnership with the Department of Energy. The
Department of Energy would continue to manage and maintain its
properties and control access to them. The National Park Service would
provide interpretation, consult with the Department on preservation
issues, and establish a visitor center and station rangers in each of
the three communities. In March 2011, Deputy Secretary of Energy
concurred on the findings of the study and provided assurances to the
National Park Service that the Department would retain full access
control to its properties in accordance with its missions and security
requirements. ``The Department of Energy is proud of its Manhattan
Project heritage and recognizes that this partnership with the National
Park Service would bring one of the most significant events in 20th
century America to a wider public audience.''
The establishment of a National Historical Park will represent a
new era for the Department of Energy, particularly in certain areas of
our sites that have been largely off-limits to the public to date due
to national security concerns and potential impacts to our ongoing
missions. The Department has not yet assessed fully the operational
difficulties in terms of security and public health and safety,
applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and the potential new
cost of national park designation at our sensitive national security
and cleanup sites. The proposed legislation, S. 3300, would give the
Department of Energy and Department of the Interior the flexibility to
establish the timeline, boundaries, and a suitable management plan for
a National Historical Park that would allow us to ensure the
continuance of public safety, national security, and the ongoing
missions at our sites. We welcome the leadership of Chairman Bingaman
and the National Parks Subcommittee in telling this important story,
and we look forward to working with you as this legislation advances.
Again, thank you for this opportunity to testify before the
Subcommittee. This completes my prepared statement. I would be happy to
answer any questions you may have.
The Chairman. Thank you very much. Let me just indicate for
the record we have various statements. Senator Alexander has a
statement that he would like included in the record related to
Senator Hutchison has a statement to include in the record
related to S. 2324.
Senator Lieberman has a statement related to S. 2286 that
he would like included in the record.
With regard to S. 3300 we also have statements for the
record from the Atomic Heritage Foundation, the Los Alamos
Historical Society and the National Park's Conservation
So we'll include all of those items in the record.
The Chairman. Let me ask a few questions.
Maybe you're the right one, Ms. Kolb, to answer this. I
would assume that if the Park Service goes ahead with this park
at these 3 Department of Energy sites, there's going to be a
lot of increased visitation to those locations.
How does this square, as you understand it, is that going
to be the problem with the Park Service? Is that going to be
the problem of the Department of Energy? Who--how does that all
Ms. Kolb. First of all we hope that there is an increase in
visitation. That is our expectation. We will work in
partnership with the National Park Service.
We have been doing so for the past couple of years as we
conducted the study. We certainly will continue that
relationship in developing the management plan. As we operate
the National Park, if one is established.
One of the things that I want to emphasize is that while
we're really hoping to provide additional public access--and we
are certain that the public will be interested in visiting
these sites--we do, at the Department of Energy, need to make
certain that we maintain security and that we maintain safety
protocols. We have very rigorous safety protocols and security
protocols, as you know. We are absolutely committed to
maintaining those regardless to the amount of public access
that is available.
The Chairman. Did you have any thoughts about that, Mr.
Mr. Frost. I would just echo Ms. Kolb's comments that we
anticipate that visitation would increase and that the
protocols that the Department of Energy have in place would be
retained. It would be their responsibility to make sure that
the security and the safety and all those things are taken care
of in an appropriate manner, while we use our expertise which
is the interpretation part, talking, telling the stories and
interpreting the site and helping with the Department of Energy
on the restoration of the buildings and things like that.
The Chairman. Let me ask on another one of these bills, S.
2229, Glacier National Park Pipeline. As I understand it this
is a pipeline that is operating today, has been for a long
time. Renewal for the operation and maintenance of the pipeline
was sought in 1990, but now we're just considering legislation
that would actually provide the authority to do that.
So I guess I'm just trying to understand how this pipeline
has continued to operate and be maintained and why it's taken
so long to get to this point.
Mr. Frost. I can give you a little history. I don't know if
I can tell you why it's taken so long to get here. But I can,
at least, give a little bit of history.
The pipeline was initially authorized by the superintendent
of the park. He's not around anymore. But we think that he
didn't realize that he didn't have the authority to authorize
it. But he authorized it anyway and the pipeline went in.
Over the course of several years the right of way was
renewed by the park assuming that it had the authority to do
so. It wasn't until 1990 that the current superintendent
started to look into the situation and got a solicitor's
opinion. The solicitors told him that we didn't have the
authority to actually have the pipeline in the park.
At the same time, the solicitors also authorized it because
the pipeline had been established. It had been operating. If we
would have said you've got to take the pipeline out, it would
have caused some pretty dire straits in the city of Kalispell.
But the solicitor felt that in his opinion we could go ahead
and continue the use of the pipeline until we got the proper
legislation in place.
So here we are trying to get the legislation in place so
that we can get our ducks in a row and get back on track.
The Chairman. Let me ask also, Mr. Frost, about S. 2372,
the Cape Hatteras Off Road Vehicle legislation. Is it true that
the Park Service is required to complete a rulemaking to allow
off road vehicles at Cape Hatteras in order to be in compliance
with Executive Orders and applicable laws?
How does this relate to those Executive Orders? I'm just
unclear as to why we're doing this legislation.
Mr. Frost. I don't have the Executive Order number off the
top of my head. But the Executive Order basically prohibited
the use of ORVs in National Park units unless there was a
special regulation promulgated. It said that we had to do
regulations to have ORV use.
The Park Service promulgated a general regulation that
stated that ORV use is prohibited unless a special regulation
is enacted to allow some level of use. The Park has been,
again, like in Glacier, out of compliance for a number of years
with the Park Service general regulation. We have been allowing
the ORV use pretty much unfettered at Cape Hatteras.
It's taken a series of years to try and get this special
regulation in place. We went through a 5-year NEPA process and
negotiated rulemaking process to work with the community, to
come up with a plan. The opinions are all over the board both
for and against for what level of use should occur.
We think we've struck somewhat of a middle place where we
can still allow a high amount of ORV use, but at the same time
protect the species and the resources that we're required to
protect through our organic legislation and the Endangered
Species Act and other regulatory vehicles.
The Chairman. Senator Murkowski.
Senator Murkowski. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Frost, in looking at your testimony on S. 2316, this is
the renaming of the Salt Pond Visitor Center, Cape Cod, after
Tip O'Neill. In that case the National Park Service actually
states that they support the bill.
You state that one of the 2 circumstances that allows the
Park Service to come out in favor of a bill is when there is a
strong association between the park and the person being
commemorated and at least 5 years have elapsed since the death
of that person. Clearly that fits the case with Speaker
It's also the case then, with Walter Harper, the person in
my bill, S. 2273, that we're going to propose to name the
Talkeetna Ranger Station for.
So the question to you is you've got an official position
taken by the Park Service with my legislation of no objection.
But yet, with S. 2316 you are actually coming out and saying
that you support the bill.
What's the difference between the two? Why is mine, no
objection, when the other which is based on the same
circumstances, as best I can tell, a support?
Mr. Frost. Yes. You're absolutely right in terms of the
criteria that we use to designate or to name buildings. At the
Cape Cod Visitor Center, Congressman O'Neill was very actively
engaged in the development of the legislation. He had a second
house on the Cape. He spent a lot of time there. He was
directly involved in the creation of Cape Cod National
The difference between there and the Talkeetna Ranger
Station is while the gentleman that it is proposed to be named
for was the first person to summit Denali, it happened before
the Park was established. It wasn't a Park Service site. So
there was no relation to the Park Service per se.
He had a direct connection to the mountain, absolutely.
That feat should be recognized. There's no doubt about it and
that the ranger station is a building, as you stated in your
opening comments, where people have to go to get permits and
things like that.
The individual had no direct relationship with that area
specifically other than summiting the mountain. So it's a
subtle difference. But that's the objection that we had.
Senator Murkowski. It is a subtle difference. I certainly
hope that the difference is not that in order to have the
support from the Park Service you actually have had to have
been a legislator, who affected that change. Because if that's
the case, that's not a very good standard.
Mr. Frost. No, I don't think that's the case.
Senator Murkowski. OK. Alright.
I will accept the fact that there is a subtle distinction.
I interpret that to mean that Mr. Harper, when he summated was
before we actually had a National Park. I will accept that.
But I think we should be careful about inferring that
you've got to be a Senator, a Congressman, in order to gain the
support for naming legislation.
Let me ask you about maintenance backlog because this is an
important issue for us. I'm on the Appropriations Committee. We
look very carefully at where the National Park Service is with
its maintenance backlog, about $11 billion in backlog.
But a number of the bills that are in front of the
subcommittee today, they've got the support of the Park Service
despite the fact that they expand existing units or they create
new units which would increase Park Service liabilities and
responsibilities. So the question to you is at a time when the
Park Service is having a difficult time keeping up with the
property that it currently, well, owns, do you think that it's
sound investment for Park Service to acquire more land? Many
make the case that it's pretty common sense that we don't buy
more property when we can't afford to maintain that which we
So if you could address that.
Mr. Frost. Sure. I think that you're absolutely right. We
do have a very high maintenance backlog. There's no doubt about
But I think the question is, are there still areas that
have national significance that the country and the Congress
think are important and need to be designated as National
Parks? That's the crux of the question. We think that there are
other places that deserve national recognition as a unit of the
National Park System. As the list of bills shows, it appears
that Congress also feels that way because we continue to have
new sites suggested to us.
So we need to continue to work on the backlog. We are.
We're putting high priority on the maintenance backlog. We're
knocking that down little by little, obviously not as fast as
But at the same time, do we throw everything else out just
to deal with the maintenance backlog and not establish new
sites or not do the level of interpretation we should do or not
protect the resources at the level we use to at the expense of
the maintenance backlog or do we weigh those different
priorities and try and make the best decisions that we can.
Senator Murkowski. I appreciate that it is absolutely a
balancing that goes on. But I'm concerned that we may actually
be putting some maintenance projects on hold as we bring in new
units as we see an expansion. You know, that's not fair to the
existing parks that we have.
It's something that we need to be working on. Perhaps if
you have any ideas as we look at it from an appropriations
perspective. If there are projects that need to be put on hold
because we're going to be advancing some new ones, if you have
any kind of a list, I'd be happy if you would share that with
Mr. Frost. I will surely go back and have that discussion
with our Director and our Comptroller and our facilities folks
and see what we can come up with.
Senator Murkowski. Good. I appreciate it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. Senator Manchin.
Senator Manchin. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank both of you
and sorry if you feel like we're skipping over you, Ms. Kolb.
But I think we're getting on Mr. Frost pretty good here.
Ms. Kolb. That's OK.
Senator Manchin. You don't mind at all, do you?
Let me just say very quickly that my concern is with S.
2372. An awful lot of West Virginians have been going for
generations down to the Cape. That's their vacation.
That's where they love to go. That's where they've been
migrating to for many, many years. They're very, very concerned
about the rule or the way that you all have implied and stop
the things that they have done for so long and basically put
off limits some of the areas that most prestigious off shore--
or the shore fishing, if you will.
With that the 23--in 2007 there was a decree that, the
final consent decree, of an ORV plan which was tough
compromise, I understand. I know you've talked about that
things have changed and there was a lawsuit. Now you're
absolutely opposed to 2372.
Sir, I've been in that area quite a few times. The majority
of the people that live there that are affected are totally in
support of S. 2372. As a matter of fact, that's why there is a
S. 2372. Most of the protests and lawsuits are coming from
people that don't even live there.
Is that correct?
Is it fair?
Mr. Frost. I don't know if I know that as a fact.
Senator Manchin. You've been in public hearings down there,
sir. You all know that.
Mr. Frost. Let me tell you what I do know. Through the
negotiated rulemaking process and through the NEPA process, we
got--I don't have the number right off the top of my head, but
it's around 50,000 comments. As a result of that--and as we all
know NEPA is not----
Senator Manchin. Look at the comments. Look where they come
Mr. Frost. They came from all over. That's a good point
though because this is a National Seashore.
Senator Manchin. Right.
Mr. Frost. We understand that the rule will have an effect.
Senator Manchin. Let me read one thing to you.
Mr. Frost. OK.
Senator Manchin. This Administration has been tallying its
America's Great Outdoors Initiative which promotes increasing
public access to outdoor opportunities and reconnecting
Americans with our public lands. How are the restrictions
currently in place at Cape Hatteras compatible with the
Administration's mission to increase public access for the
sportsmen? It sure is taking away what they've done for years.
The only alternative we have is the pass S. 2372 to try to
create the balance that you all found in 2007 when you
Mr. Frost. The 2007----
Senator Manchin. Now since you've got a lawsuit, you said,
well, we'll just really stick it to them now.
Mr. Frost. I think that the 2007 Consent Decree was a
result of a lawsuit. The rulemaking was a process that was in
place before the lawsuit ever took place.
Senator Manchin. Then you should support, since you all
negotiated 2007, that's what we're working with on S. 2372. You
all should support this approach to get back to where there's a
Mr. Frost. I understand.
Senator Manchin. You're taking the most stringent approach
right now saying that you all, basically, are totally opposed
to S. 2372. That means you never did agree with your 2007
Mr. Frost. So there were a couple steps. There were the
interim guidelines that were in place when we began the
negotiated rulemaking process and the NEPA process.
Then, as the negotiated rulemaking process sort of fell
apart, there was a lawsuit. We get the consent decree from the
Those were the guidelines that we were using while we
finished the NEPA process and we finished the NEPA process in
Then we completed the final rule in 2012.
Both pieces of legislation, both the House bill and the
Senate bill have been introduced subsequent to the final
So the chronology is a little bit off, but it's----
Senator Manchin. Don't you all take into consideration the
people that live there, the livelihood that comes from it.
They've had 15 to 50 percent reduction in business, employment,
creating tremendous hardships. They're willing to meet the
decree that you all negotiated.
We've got no alternative but to pass this. It's the only
way to put balance back in so the people have a chance to
Mr. Frost. We, again, we feel that through the NEPA process
and through the rulemaking process that we've reached out to
the local community and to the other communities.
Senator Manchin. You think the local community is happy
with what you've done?
Mr. Frost. I would say some people are but----
Senator Manchin. Do you want the majority of people to
come? We can bring them all probably.
Senator Manchin. Sir, it's unbelievable the hardship you're
placing. That's not government's role. We're supposed to be a
partnership, an ally, not an adversary and an enemy. That's
what we've ended up being down there with this, with the way
you all handled yourself.
I'm sorry to say that, but it really is.
Thank you. My time is up.
The Chairman. Senator Cantwell.
Senator Cantwell. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for
having this hearing. It's been great to work with you and
Representative Hastings in the House for some time on these
critical Manhattan Projects and making sure that they're
preserved and made accessible to the public. So thank you for
I know that in many cases our communities have been working
on this for an even longer period of time, trying to make sure
that the history is preserved and the scientific work that's
been done is recognized. I know for us in the Northwest, with
the B Reactor at the Hanford site, we've had over 20,000
visitors since 2009; and I think something like 10,000 people
just in this past year. So the region really does see this as a
very big potential for attracting visitors and impacting our
local economy with people spending more dollars. Elevating the
reactor from a National Historic Landmark to National Park
status will take that to the next level.
So I know Chairman Bingaman asked a question about
visitation related to security. But I'd like to know if, Mr.
Frost, you believe that the B Reactor--as part of a National
Historic Park System, once it's finalized--will experience
increase visitation? How do you look at that? How do you
understand how designation impacts visitation, and what do you
expect from this park?
Mr. Frost. Yes, I don't think we have any really hard
numbers in terms of that. We do anticipate that visitation
would increase by bringing that higher visibility to not only
Hanford, but also Los Alamos and Oak Ridge.
People are going to want to understand what this was all
about, why we did what we did, how the technology improved over
time, and how the technology helped us to eventually get to
where we did.
So there's no doubt in our minds that we think visitation
will increase and the curiosity of the public will be,
Senator Cantwell. So either to you or Ms. Kolb, the
legislation provides for 1 year for the Department of Energy
and National Park Service to enter an agreement in the
respective administrative roles. Are your Departments committed
to meeting that deadline?
Ms. Kolb. Yes, absolutely. We would be committed to meeting
that deadline. We have had some discussions about this. It may
be that we need more time to make sure that, you know, we have
a thorough agreement in place. That's something that we can
talk with the Subcommittee about as we move forward.
But absolutely, if the 1-year deadline is what's in the
legislation that is what we will follow.
Senator Cantwell. The bill also requires a management plan
to be developed within 3 years of receiving funding. Do you
think your agencies would take that long or do you think
there's more interim work?
Ms. Kolb. Three years certainly we believe is appropriate.
Our goal would, of course, be to complete it sooner than that.
But we may need the 3 years given the fact that we're talking
about 3 different sites. We're talking about a lot of security
and safety issues.
So we want to make sure that as we stand up this park it is
all done correctly keeping in mind the safety and security and
the fact that the Department of Energy has an ongoing mission
at many of these facilities that would be involved.
Senator Cantwell. The land will remain under DOE right?
Ms. Kolb. Yes, most of it would be. But some of the sites
that are contemplated are privately owned.
Senator Cantwell. OK.
Is there anything that's changed between the reports? I
know all 3 sites were recommended for inclusion as part of the
Manhattan Project Historical Park.
Ms. Kolb. Yes.
Senator Cantwell. So is there anything that's?
Ms. Kolb. Yes, that is right. All 3 of these sites were
Senator Cantwell. OK.
Ms. Kolb. Which is consistent with the proposed
Senator Cantwell. OK.
Is there anything that's going to be done to try to promote
them in a conglomerate way? I mean, obviously, these individual
States feel like there are very, very important stories to be
told here; but is there a way that all of that is pulled
Ms. Kolb. It would be pulled together. I think that we
would be working with the National Park Service on that. But it
would be one park, just at 3 different locations. At least
that's the vision that we have at this time.
Certainly we would present it as one story because the
reason we would have the 3 sites is all 3 were integral to the
Manhattan Project. You can't just pull one out, so all 3 would
be presented as a whole. What we would envision is at Hanford,
for example, we would also be talking about the story at Los
Alamos and Oak Ridge and vice versa for all 3 of the sites.
So that the people understand the connection.
Senator Cantwell. I hope we certainly can meet these
deadlines. There is a lot of information there, in individuals
who still remain in the area, who were part of the project and
know a lot about what transpired during that time period. So I
hope we can capture much of that.
Ms. Kolb. Yes, absolutely. We want to tap into that
Senator Cantwell. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. Thank you.
Senator Corker. I have no questions at this point.
The Chairman. Alright. We thank both of you very much for
Why don't we go ahead with the second panel. I'll introduce
The first is the Honorable Thomas L. Beehan, who is the
Mayor of the city of Oak Ridge, also Chairman of the Energy
Communities Alliance in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
The second witness is the Honorable Warren Judge, Chairman
of the Dare County, North Carolina Board of Commissioners from
Manteo, North Carolina.
Third is Mr. Derb S. Carter, Jr., who is Director of the
Carolinas Office in the Southern Environmental Law Center in
Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Thank you all for being here.
Oh, OK. Senator Corker wanted to make a statement at this
point before we start hearing your testimonies. So go right
Senator Corker. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As usual I'll be
But I wanted to welcome Mayor Beehan. He is someone who
serves as the leader of Oak Ridge as Mayor but he's done so
through much civic activity, somebody that for years and years
and years has promoted the area. He's risen to the place that
he is just out of the deep respect that people have for the
many efforts that he's been involved in.
He's someone that I greatly respect. I'm glad he's here in
the U.S. Senate giving testimony. I assure you that what he
says you can bank on.
I just want to welcome him here. I'm glad to be a part of
this. Again, I'll be brief and turn it back over to you. But
thank you very much.
Thank you, sir.
The Chairman. Thank you very much for that high
Mr. Mayor, why don't you start? As I indicated before,
we'll take your full written statement and put it in the
record. So if you could just make the main points you think we
need to understand we'll hear from each of you and then have a
STATEMENT OF THOMAS L. BEEHAN, MAYOR, CITY OF OAK RIDGE, AND
CHAIRMAN, ENERGY COMMUNITIES ALLIANCE, OAK RIDGE, TN
Mr. Beehan. Thank you, Senator Bingaman. Senator Corker,
thank you for the welcome. I really appreciate that.
Chairman Bingaman and members of the committee, I thank you
for inviting me to testify on S. 3300, a bill to establish the
Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge,
Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico and Hanford, Washington. I
would also like to thank the co-sponsors of the bill, yourself,
Senator Bingaman, Lamar Alexander, Maria Cantwell, Tom Udall
and Patty Murray.
I am Tom Beehan, the Mayor of the city of Oak Ridge,
Tennessee and Chairman of the Energy Community Alliance. Our
members include local governments and other community
organizations from Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and the Tri-Cities
areas. All 3 communities have jointly prepared the testimony I
will be presenting today.
First and most importantly I would like to stress that all
3 communities are united in support of the passage of the bill
to establish a 3 unit historical park in Tennessee, New Mexico
and Washington. There's also bipartisan support for this bill
in the House and the Senate. Our communities have been working
for many years to preserve the history of the Manhattan Project
at our sites. We feel that now is the time to pass a bill that
will lead to the establishment of the National Historical Park.
It is easy for us, who live in those communities of Oak
Ridge, Los Alamos and the Tri-Cities, to site that the
Manhattan Project changed the world. It began in secrecy in
1942. The original mission was exceptionally completed in
August 1945 when the Japanese surrendered.
The Manhattan Project is an incredible story that deserves
to be preserved and told. Let me be clear. The interpretation
of these sites will be about giving current and future
generations an understanding of the indisputable turning point
in America and in world history.
Despite what some distracters may claim, this is not a park
about weapons. I believe this historical park is about
scientific and engineering accomplishments at a time when our
country was defending itself both during World War II and the
cold war. This historic park will tell all sides of the story
of what occurred in our 3 communities and has been identified
by the National Park Service in their special resource study.
The National Park interprets all sites and attempts to address
all viewpoints to give a full and fair picture. We support such
Recently the Energy Community Alliance held a meeting in
Richland, Washington to discuss the need to work together to
get this park established. The 3 communities have not only
partnered together on this important initiative. But we have
also worked with the Department of Energy, the Department of
Interior, State Historic Preservation Officers and many others
to provide comments on the various drafts of this bill for the
National Park unit at our sites.
While in Richland our group toured the B reactor, the
world's first full scale, production nuclear reactor. When
visiting the B reactor one really gets an appreciation of the
potential of the site to attract thousands of visitors a year.
Already a few public tours are available for the B reactor.
They fill up almost immediately.
Last year, 8,000 seats were filled in less than 5 hours.
This year 10,000 people will go on the tour.
Oak Ridge has many assets also. It gives us a glimpse
behind the gates. In 2011, around 8,000 people visited the
Graphite Reactor at ORNL. Close to 5,000 people came through
the Y-12 New Hope Center. Additional tours are held every year
at the ``Secret City Festival'' where some 30,000 people come.
In Los Alamos, the industrial work at the laboratory is
such as the Gun Site, the work where Little Boy was done and
the V Site where the work on the Gadget was completed. Visitors
get a sense of the creative equipment in the Los Alamos
Historic District. Visitors can walk the same paths as the
Manhattan Project physicists, known as the Bathtub Row.
The Manhattan Project Historical Park is needed to preserve
the history of the most significant event of the 20th Century.
As you proceed we ask you to consider the following
Establish the park now so that we can honor the veterans
who were there.
Protect the ongoing mission of the Department of Energy.
Authorize User Fees/Entrance Fees.
Donations should be broad.
Allow the inclusion of significant sites.
I thank you for allowing me to testify.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Beehan follows:]
Prepared Statement of Thomas L. Beehan, Mayor, City of Oak Ridge, and
Chairman, Energy Communities Alliance, Oak Ridge, TN
Chairman Udall and Ranking Member Paul and Members of the
Committee, I thank you for inviting me to testify on S. 3300, a bill to
establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge,
Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico and Hanford, Washington. I would also
like to thank the co-sponsors of this bill: Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-
NM), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Udall (D-NM)
and Patty Murray (D-WA). I am Tom Beehan, the Mayor of the City of Oak
Ridge, Tennessee and as the Chairman of the Energy Communities Alliance
(ECA), the association of local governments that are adjacent to or
impacted by Department of Energy (DOE) activities. Our members include
local governments and other community organizations from the Oak Ridge,
Los Alamos and the Tri-Cities (Hanford) areas, and all three
communities have passed resolutions supporting the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park and have jointly prepared the testimony I will
present to you today.
energy communities alliance supports the bill to establish the
manhattan project national historical park in oak ridge, los alamos and
First, and most importantly, I would like to stress that all three
of our communities are united in our support for the passage of this
bill to establish a 3-unit National Historical Park in Tennessee, New
Mexico and Washington. There is also bi-partisan support for this bill
from the Senators and Members of Congress from all three of our states.
Last week, House Energy and Natural Resources Chair Doc Hastings, along
with Congressmen Chuck Fleischmann and Ben Lujan also introduced a bill
to establish a park at all three sites (HR 5987). Our communities have
been working for many years to preserve the history of the Manhattan
Project at our sites, and we feel that now is the time to pass a bill
that will lead to the establishment of a National Historical Park. In
addition, there is support for both bills among the state and local
elected officials, historic preservation organizations, National Park
Service officials, Department of Energy officials, business leaders,
environmental cleanup advocates, chambers of commerce, museum
officials, librarians and many others.
Among the biggest advocates of the National Historic Park are the
people who worked at the three sites during World War II. It is
important to remember that no one in our country knew what the workers
were building at the sites--they were truly ``Secret Cities.'' Most of
the young men and women working in these communities did not even know
what the project was. These were among the nation's best and brightest
citizens from all walks of life.
National Historical Parks are developed to ensure that we protect
our country's assets and open them to the public to learn about our
nation's history. We should work to open this park while some of the
Manhattan Project Veterans are still alive and able to see their work
recognized by our nation. These people played a valuable role in ending
World War II and defending not only the United States but also
democracies throughout the world. These true heroes, who dedicated
their wartime service to the Manhattan Project, appreciate the
legislation developed by your committee.
the important history of the manhattan project sites must be preserved
As an expert panel of historians reported in 2001, the top-secret
Manhattan Project program during World War II, centered in Los Alamos,
NM, Oak Ridge, TN, and Hanford, WA, has been called ``the single most
significant event of the 20th Century.'' Operating from December 1942
until September 1945, the Manhattan Project was a $2.2 billion effort
that employed 130,000 workers at its peak, but was kept secret and out
of public view.
It is easy for those of us who live in the communities of Oak
Ridge, Los Alamos and the Tri-Cities to say that the Manhattan Project
changed the world. The Manhattan Project began in great secrecy in
1942, and the original mission was successfully completed by August of
1945 when the Japanese surrendered. The engineering and construction
feats of the more than 100,000 men and women who were brought to these
three sites from all over the world to build and operate first-of-a-
kind nuclear plants, is an incredible story that deserves to be
preserved and told.
On August 13, 1942 at the direction of FDR, the Manhattan Engineer
District was established under the command of Colonel Leslie R. Groves.
By September of 1942 Groves had selected Oak Ridge, Tennessee as the
site for uranium isotope separation. In November 1942 Los Alamos was
chosen as the laboratory to build the integral parts, under the
direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. And in January 1943 Hanford was
selected for plutonium production. In 1945, just three years after the
start of the project, the war with Japan was over. This was an
incredible wartime achievement.
In today's world, it is mind-boggling to think of what happened in
these three short years. First, the actual land had to be acquired and
existing homes and landowners had to be relocated. Then, workers of all
types had to be recruited--engineers, physicists, chemists,
mathematicians, as well as carpenters, electricians, iron workers,
cement masons, and a multitude of office workers, cooks, guards and
truck drivers. These individuals had to first build their own towns
with dormitories and barracks, mess halls, utilities roads and
railroads and even shower houses. Now almost 70 years later, these
sites are being reindustrialized, and many ancillary buildings have
been demolished and removed. The history of these human scientific and
engineering achievements at the birth of the Atomic Age must be
interpreted and preserved.
Let me be clear. Interpretation at these sites will be about giving
current and future generations an understanding of this indisputable
turning point in American, and indeed world history. Despite what some
detractors may claim, this is not a Park about weapons. I believe this
Historic Park is about the feats of scientific and engineering
accomplishments developed at a time when our country was defending
itself, both during World War II and the Cold War. The construction and
operation of the first generation reactors in total secrecy was an
astounding development. Now, the science of the Manhattan Project has
transformed contemporary society with significant contributions in
fields such as nuclear medicine and nanotechnology. This Historic Park
will tell all sides of the story of what occurred at Oak Ridge, Los
Alamos and the Tri-cities, as has been identified in the National Park
Service Special Resource Study released last year. The National Park
Service interprets all sites and attempts to address all viewpoints to
give a full and fair picture, and we support such actions.
background of legislation
The National Park Service, at the direction of Congress, conducted
a special resource study on several Manhattan Project sites for
possible inclusion in the National Park System. The study recommends
that the best way to preserve and interpret the Manhattan Project is
for Congress to establish a national historical park at the three sites
where a majority of the key scientific activity associated with the
project occurred: Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Hanford. The study
acknowledged the significant Department of Energy investment in
preservation of its assets, which played a role in the Park Service
recommendation to proceed with a park designation. The DOE support
provides the foundation for National Park Service interpretation of
these assets for the public to see.
According to the National Park Service study, ``Cultural resources
associated with the Manhattan Project are not currently represented in
the national park system, and comparably managed areas are not
protected . . . the comprehensive story of the nationally significant
Manhattan Project is not told anywhere . . . Including Manhattan
Project-related sites in the national park system will provide for
comprehensive interpretation and public understanding of this
nationally significant story in 20th century American history.''
Furthermore, as Senator Bingaman said in a recent press release for
this bill: ``Providing visitors with opportunities to form their own
intellectual and emotional connections with the significance of sites
to be included in the Manhattan Project National Historical Park helps
them understand its relevance to our shared national heritage. There is
no better place to understand history than where it happened, and
that's what national parks and the National Park Service do best.'' We
oak ridge, los alamos, the tri-cities communities are committed to
working together to establish a national historical park
Since the Department of Interior's final study and recommendation
was announced in July of last year, our state, city and county
officials, business leaders, historical societies and groups, various
community groups and individuals in our communities and throughout the
country have been working diligently with you and your staffs to
support this legislative process; and we come here to support the
legislation introduced in both the Senate and the House.
Most recently, many of us participated in an Energy Communities
Alliance ``Peer Exchange'' meeting in Richland, Washington to discuss
many of the issues surrounding the establishment of a National
Historical Park at our sites. At the meeting, all the participants
stressed the need to work together to get this park established. The
three communities have not only partnered together to work on this
important initiative, but we have also worked with DOE, the Department
of the Interior, State Historical Preservation Officers, The National
Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Parks Conservation
Association, the Atomic Heritage Foundation and many others to provide
comments on various drafts of this bill and visions for a National Park
Unit at ours sites. The meeting in Richland provided us with an
opportunity to meet many of the involved parties and discuss the
potential for a National Park at our sites.
While in Richland, our group also toured the B Reactor, the
incredible engineering accomplishment that is the world's first full
scale production nuclear reactor. The B Reactor was built in just 11
months. The design was based on the success of Enrico Fermi's ``Chicago
Pile 1'' and a pilot plant, the X-10 Graphite Reactor, located at what
is now the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This tour provided the
potential experience that a visitor to a National Park would have when
visiting the site, and the National Park Service has not even started
their interpretative work. When visiting the B Reactor, one really gets
an appreciation for the potential of the site to attract thousands of
visitors a year. Already the few public tours that are available for
the B Reactor fill up almost as soon as they become available. Last
year, more than 8,000 seats were filled in less than 5 hours. This year
more than 10,000 people will go on the tour. The B Reactor has had
visitors from all 50 states and 48 countries.
Oak Ridge has many assets that are open to visitors and community
members who want to learn more and get a glimpse of what life was like
``behind the gate''. The Department Of Energy Facilities Public Bus
Tours, held from June through August each summer, highlight the
Graphite Reactor at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the New Hope
Center at Y-12, the DOE operated American Museum of Science and Energy,
and portions of the City of Oak Ridge, where housing and other
structures from the Manhattan Project era remain.
In 2011, around eight thousand people visited the Graphite Reactor
at ORNL and close to five thousand people came through the Y-12 New
Hope Center. Additional special tours of these facilities, along with
the Y-12 facility are held each year during the ``Secret City
Festival,'' which attracts between 20-30 thousand people. These tours
are one of the most popular events during the festival weekend and over
700 people recently participated in the tour in a single day.
In Los Alamos, the industrial work at the laboratory was on a
smaller scale than at Oak Ridge or Hanford. Properties, such as the Gun
Site, where the work on Little Boy was done, and at the V Site, where
work on the ``Gadget'' was accomplished, visitors get a sense of the
``can-do'' spirit of the scientists and technicians who had to make do
in make-shift buildings with some rather creative equipment. We are
confident the Department of Energy and Department of Interior can work
out visitor access issues to these sites. At the same time, in the Los
Alamos' historic center, visitors can walk the same paths as the giants
of 20th century physicists, and see the homes where J. Robert
Oppenheimer, Hans Bethe, and other talented scientists once lived and
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park is needed to
preserve the history of the most significant event of the 20th Century.
As you proceed, we ask that you consider the following recommendations:
Establish the Park Now to Honor Our Manhattan Project
Veterans. There is unanimity among the three communities that
the Park should be established in the near term in order to
honor our Manhattan Project and Cold War veterans.
Protect ongoing Missions of DOE. We support legislative
language that protects the ongoing missions of DOE, and
recognize the need for appropriate flexibility in the
partnership among the stakeholders.
Authorize User/Entrance Fees. Although the legislation
should recognize DOE's responsibility to maintain its assets,
authorization for a modest entry/user fee should be included to
assist in the long term stewardship of non-DOE-owned assets.
Donations authority should be broad. We want to ensure that
the National Park is permitted to accept both personal property
and financial donations to support the park and the tours of
the sites. The bill should include language that ``The
Secretary may accept, hold, administer, and use gifts,
bequests, and devises (including real and personal property,
labor and services), for the purpose of preserving and
providing access to, historically significant resources
relating to the Department.''
Allow inclusion of Nationally Significant Sites. We need
flexibility to permit the NPS to work with communities to be
able to add sites that are nationally significant and suitable
for inclusion in the Historic Park.
In closing, we believe the proposed Historical Park will serve as a
21st Century model for the National Park Service, or as the National
Park Service study calls it ``A new innovative Manhattan Project
National Historical Park,'' one that is based on federal, state and
community partnerships. We look forward to working with you, and urge
that this Congress pass the National Park legislation. The Energy
Communities Alliance and our individual communities support this
important legislation Senate Bill 3300. We thank you and the full
committee for your leadership and support.
The Chairman. Thank you very much for your testimony.
Mr. Judge, go right ahead.
STATEMENT OF WARREN JUDGE, CHAIRMAN, DARE COUNTY BOARD OF
COMMISSIONERS, COUNTY OF DAREO, NC
Mr. Judge. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate this
opportunity today on behalf of the 33,000 local people who call
Dare County their home and the millions who visit the Outer
Banks of North Carolina each year.
Dare County is proud to be the site of the Cape Hatteras
National Seashore Recreational Area which has the distinction
of being America's first National Seashore. It is unique that
it was created by Congress and designed by the National Park
Service to be a recreational area. Our people sacrificed and
cooperated with the Federal Government through the gifts of
land and favorable sales of property to help develop this
special place. This was done in good faith based upon solemn
promises that were made that there would always be recreational
Today I ask you to enact S. 2372. This bill represents a
practical and proven solution for providing access to the
seashore while assuring science based protection of shore birds
S. 2372 would reinstate a National Park Service management
tool known as the Interim Plan. This was a fully vetted,
comprehensive plan that provided reasonable recreational access
while at the same time safeguard it and protect resources. The
other management plan had a NEPA review and was born in the
light of public involvement and participation. The Interim Plan
worked. It gave the Superintendent the authority to use his or
her professional judgment to make timely and practical
adjustments in direct response to actual conditions at the
seashore on a real time basis.
Unfortunately after a lawsuit by special interest groups
the Interim Management Plan was set aside and a rigid and
arbitrary Consent Decree was mandated by a court. This Consent
Decree never had a NEPA review. Because it was prepared behind
closed doors by special interest groups, it never had the
benefit of healthy public participation through public
Under S. 2372 access decisions would be made a Park
Superintendent, who is ultimately accountable to Congress
rather than to the courts or a rigid, arbitrary and floored ORV
S. 2372 does not strip away all regulations and leave the
seashore unprotected. Far from it. The Interim Plan has
comprehensive and effective rules that can be actively managed
by the Superintendent to better protect wildlife.
The people of Cape, the people of Hatteras Island and those
who cherish Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area
have a vested and vibrant interest in preserving this
magnificent seashore for all generations to come. Our residents
and visitors have proven that people and nature can live in
harmony. I have seen it work first hand.
As Chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners I
have also seen how people have suffered under the Consent
Decree. The recently implemented National Park Service ORV rule
that imposes even greater restrictions. Dare County, like some
places you call home, is a rural area where small businesses
are the economic backbone of our community. Hard working men
and women have for generations created jobs and sustained
economic growth for our area by offering outstanding service
and hospitality to those who travel from around the Nation and
the world to enjoy our family oriented beaches and rich
heritage of historical and cultural attractions.
Tourism is our primary industry. It is the engine that
drives our economy. Since the Consent Decree was enacted in the
spring of 2008, our people have suffered. Many have seen a
dramatic drop in revenue directly related to heavy handed,
beach access restrictions. This has taken a harsh toll on their
businesses, their employees and their families. This impact has
been most vivid for those near the closure areas because Dare
County is such a large geographical area even when tourism may
be up in some neighborhoods that are far removed from Hatteras
Island, it is still a fact that people near the closures are
struggling to hold on to the American dream.
Recently during the week of June 14, only 27 percent of the
seashore miles were open to everyone. Unfortunately this did
not include Oregon Inlet, Cape Point and other popular
destinations for affordable, family oriented recreation. This
turmoil was centered around the Piping Plover, a species that
is not endangered in North Carolina and is only listed as
threatened on its migratory path through the Outer Banks.
Our community has suffered long enough. We need your help.
Here in Washington if one Piping Plover were to nest on the
Mall in front of the Smithsonian under the rules now in place,
it would shut down the entire Mall from the edge of the Capital
Building grounds to just east of the Washington Monument.
To conclude, Mr. Chairman, this is why I'm asking you
today, urging you, to enact S. 2372, to reinstate the Interim
Management Plan. As a long time resident, native, a World War
II veteran, Dan Willis put it recently as a tank commander in
the Battle of the Bulge in old Normandy. ``My country had no
problem sending me to the beaches of Normandy, but I cannot go
to the beach in my beloved Hatteras village.''
[The prepared statement of Mr. Judge follows:]
Prepared Statement of Warren Judge, Chairman, Dare County Board of
Commissioners, County of Dareo, NC
Dare County North Carolina, known as the Outer Banks, is home to
the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA), which
has the distinction of being America's first national seashore. The
CHNSRA is unique in that it was created to be a recreational area. In
the wake of the Great Depression, the Federal Government launched this
new recreational concept as a bold and innovative endeavor to stimulate
tourism and bolster the economy.
The people of Dare County cooperated with the Federal Government in
creating this new national seashore. People sacrificed through gifts of
land and favorable sales of property to the National Park Service. This
was done in good faith based on solemn promises made by Washington that
there would always be recreational access for the people.
At the urging of the National Park Service, people built businesses
and infrastructure to support and promote tourism to the area. For
generations the area flourished and the area became a popular tourism
destination because of its world-class fishing and a host of family-
oriented recreational activities.
The County of Dare through its elected leaders, and in concert with
grassroots community partners, has been involved in every phase of the
Federal Government's planning and rulemaking for the seashore.
Throughout this process we have participated in the negotiated
rulemaking process, and engaged in Public Hearings on the Draft
Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), Final Environmental Impact
Statement, (FEIS) and the ORV Management Plan. Along with others, we
have repeatedly offered practical solutions to address the concerns
required by Executive Orders 11644 and 11989 without compromising the
area's unique culture and economy.
Based on decades of experience working with the National Park
Service, we have concluded that S. 2372 is a practical solution for
providing access to the seashore while assuring that science-based
measures will protect shorebirds and turtles.
Following are reasons why S. 2372 makes sense today for the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area----
provides flexibility for the superintendent to better manage the
The passage of S. 2372 would reinstate the ``Interim Management
Plan,'' a tool developed by the National Park Service that was in place
before the consent decree and proven effective in balancing resource
protection with responsible recreational access. The Interim Management
Plan was fully vetted and had a National Environmental Policy Act
A key provision of the Interim Plan is that it provides adaptive
management techniques that give the Superintendent authority to use his
or her best professional judgment in adapting corridors and routes as
the physical characteristics of the beach change on a dynamic basis.
This common sense approach allows the Superintendent to modify access
by responding directly to changing conditions on a real time basis,
rather than arbitrarily written mandates.
For example, when buffers are established to protect a resource,
once the species have begun moving away from the nesting area, the
Superintendent could monitor and modify the established buffer on an
on-going basis. This would ultimately provide more effective resource
protection, while at the same time providing more access. This
represents a win-win situation for both protected resources and the
This flexibility is vital because conditions at the seashore are
dynamic and in a constant state of flux. As the landscape of the
seashore changes due to weather and tide conditions the natural
environment of the area changes as well. These changes can be assessed,
analyzed, and adjusted as needed by the Superintendent.
We believe the Superintendents of the CHNSRA, including the current
one, are dedicated professionals with the ability and experience to
manage the seashore in a responsible way. Depriving the Superintendent
of this flexibility denies reasonable access without affording any
resource protection benefit.
Reinstating the Interim Management Plan will not remove all
regulatory controls and create a reckless situation where the seashore
is unprotected. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Interim
Plan has comprehensive rules that will allow the Superintendent to
actively manage the seashore and better protect all species of
The Interim Plan also had the benefit of citizen participation
through Public Hearings. As a matter of principle, we believe the
development of environmental policy is best done openly in the sunshine
of full and transparent public review. The consent decree, put in place
after a lawsuit by special interest groups, never enjoyed public
support due in large part that it was prepared behind closed doors
without taxpayer input.
responsible orv access is a matter of practical necessity
Dare County has championed the cause of providing access for all
users of the seashore. We strongly support pedestrian access and have
long encouraged the National Park Service to add additional parking,
walkovers and other infrastructure to enhance and improve the
pedestrian visitor experience.
We also recognize the physical reality that ORV use is the only
practical way to gain access to some of the key recreational sites
within this uniquely designed seashore. On first visit to the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, many are surprised to
discover that without ORV access, people of all ages would have to hike
large distances, of over a mile, to reach some of the remote
recreational areas. Only the most athletic can traverse the hot sand
carrying small children, recreational equipment, water and other vital
Without ORV access, the physically disabled, the elderly, and the
many who suffer from chronic medical conditions are unable to reach the
seashore and enjoy the place that is supported by their tax dollars.
This is inconsistent with the recreational purpose for which the CHNSRA
was originally created.
Mobility impaired visitors depend upon their vehicle not only for
transportation to the seashore, but as a necessary lifeline in the
event of a medical emergency, a sudden change of weather or temperature
conditions, or need for toilet facilities. It is unfair that these
people be restricted to the areas directly in front of the villages as
is now provided in the ORV Management Plan.
At the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, ORV
access is a matter of practical necessity.
resource protection must be balanced with recreational access
We believe people and nature can live in harmony in the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. For generations our
community has been on the vanguard of sustaining the natural resources
in order to preserve them for our children, and grandchildren, and
generations to come. No one is more committed to preserving a solid,
long-term, ecological future for the beaches of the Outer Banks than
the people of Dare County.
The public is often surprised to learn that none of the birds
protected at the CHNSRA are endangered. While the piping plover is
considered threatened on its migratory path through the Outer Banks, it
is not indigenous to the area, and it is not endangered.
Other shorebirds that are afforded protection are not endangered,
but listed as species of concern. This is an important distinction
because non-endangered birds at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Recreational Area are being given greater levels of protection than is
given to the same species at other National Parks and Seashores.
Those who oppose recreational access fail to disclose the truth
that the greatest threat to wildlife at the CHNSRA is from weather and
natural predators. As they herald the rise and fall of breeding numbers
from year to year, they imply that ORV access is the villain. In
reality, it is weather conditions, including severe nor'easters and
hurricanes that frequent the Carolina coast, that destroy bird and
Furthermore, the National Park Service has implemented a highly
controversial ``Predator Removal Program'' that traps and kills
hundreds of mammals each year to prevent raccoons, otters, foxes and
other natural predators from robbing nests of their eggs. People who
love all animals are shocked to discover that NPS disrupts the natural
balance of nature by annihilating one species in a misguided attempt to
Sadly, none of the special interest groups, who claim to defend
wildlife, have raised their voice as advocates for the hundreds of
mammals that have been systematically murdered each year. Instead, they
would have you believe that ORV access is destroying shorebirds and sea
turtles rather than admit the truth that the greatest threat to
wildlife is from weather and natural predators.
To truly understand the dynamics of the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore Recreational Area, it is important to note that restrictive
closures have shut down vast geographical areas to protect a very small
number of birds.
For example, during the recent week of June 14, 2012, only 27% of
the seashore's miles were open to everyone. Unfortunately, this did not
include Oregon Inlet, Cape Point, and other popular destinations for
affordable, family-oriented recreation. During this same time, the
National Park Service documented only 5 active Piping Plover nests in
the entire Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
Let there be no doubt, Dare County is seriously committed to
protecting those 5 nests in a responsible way. However, we believe they
can be adequately protected by the Superintendent without shutting down
most of the seashore. Here again, it is a matter of balance and
avoiding extremist approaches.
It is also worth noting that because bird counts at the CHNSRA
consist of such relatively small numbers, even modest gains are often
distorted. For example, with a total population of only 5 nests, an
increase of 1 nest yields a 20% increase. Special interest groups fan
public sentiment by quoting these percentages and claiming that
wildlife is thriving, instead of putting the actual number of non-
endangered birds in its proper perspective.
Those who oppose reasonable recreational access justify it by
claiming that a significant portion of the seashore is designated as a
year-round ORV route. However, they leave out an important part of the
truth. They fail to disclose that although an area may be designated as
open for access, it is only theoretically open, because if any bird
activity is observed, that area is immediately closed.
Although a route may be designated on a map for year-round ORV use,
the appearance of one bird can shut down an entire area. Designated ORV
routes do not guarantee access. They are only open until a bird appears
at which time they are immediately closed.
corridors are needed to provide access in a way that does not disturb
Corridors are a vital tool in providing access while managing
resources. The National Park Service should incorporate the use of
corridors through and around buffers so the public is not unnecessarily
denied access to an otherwise open area.
Corridors effectively provide a small path around resource closures
in order to provide access to open areas that would otherwise be
blocked. Corridors allow visitor access to an open area that may be
sandwiched between two closed areas. These corridors have limited
negative impacts to the protected species, but they are crucial to
providing access during closure periods.
In some instances, corridors can be made through or around closure
areas. In other places, corridors can be established below the high
tide line. Since unfledged chicks are not found in nests between the
ocean and the high tide line, this type of pass through corridor would
have no negative effect on wildlife and should be established
throughout the seashore.
In the example* below, the visitors intended recreational area
would be accessible through a small pass through corridor. Without this
corridor, the area marked ``Open'' would actually be closed because it
would otherwise be impossible to get there.
* Graphic has been retained in subcommittee files.
Corridors are vital to providing access in a way that does not
hinder resource protection. Therefore, Dare County believes pass
through corridors should be maintained for pedestrians and ORVs in all
areas of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area
throughout the entire breeding and nesting season.
restrictive closures have caused economic harm for the area
Highly restrictive beach closures have had a devastating impact on
the community surrounding the seashore. Excessive and extreme closures
have consequences. Sadly, at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Recreational Area, these consequences have caused hard working, small
businesses to suffer irreparable harm.
Tourism is our primary industry. It is the engine that drives our
economy. Family-owned businesses are the backbone of Dare County and
those who offer service and hospitality to Outer Banks visitors are
suffering because of restrictive closures.
Closures have taken a heavy toll on a wide range of businesses
including automotive parts & repair, bait & tackle shops, campgrounds,
charitable service providers, child care centers, fishing rod builders,
marinas, motels and cottages, professional artists, restaurants, and
The negative impact has been the most vivid for those near the
closure areas. When special interest groups claim that tourism has
increased under the consent decree, they are guilty of not telling the
entire story. Dare County is a large geographical area and even when
tourism is up in a neighborhood that may be over an hour away from
Hatteras Island, it is still a fact that people near the closures are
struggling to survive.
Our people are being forced to work harder, deplete their savings,
and short-change their family's future. Meanwhile, by cherry-picking
economic indicators, the special interest groups rationalize that
tourism is up in spite of unprecedented closures.
Sadly, even businesses whose revenue has stayed level or showed a
modest increase have accomplished this at a costly price. Many have had
to cut back employee hours, forego much-needed capital improvements,
and sacrifice profits.
Our small business owners do not ask for special favors or
government handouts, just a fair opportunity to earn their part of the
User Fees Impose a Burden on the People
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area rightly
belongs to the American people. For generations, families have depended
on access to the seashore for recreation. This access has historically
been provided at no cost for the residents and visitors of the CHNSRA.
Families plan all year long to visit Cape Hatteras. They save
diligently in order to afford a destination where an American family
can still enjoy a wholesome recreational experience at a reasonable
price. This budgetary dynamic is a crucial one for the working people
that frequent the CHNSRA. For these visitors, adding a fee to access
the beach is akin to charging a fee to breathe the air.
Instituting fees for use of the CHNSRA threatens to hurt tourism
and adversely affect the visitor experience. This applies not only to
the National Park Service properties on the Outer Banks, but to the
overall tourism-based economy on which Dare County depends.
User fees disproportionately affect those on fixed incomes, single
parents, low-income visitors, and minorities. A $120 user fee for
someone earning the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is more greatly
affected than someone earning an upper class income. We believe high
user fees favor the rich and privileged over the poor and working
middle class families that depend on free access to the Cape Hatteras
National Seashore Recreational Area.
The yearly and weekly fees, as imposed by the National Park
Service, are excessively high and make no provision for the many who
visit the seashore for a length of stay of less than one week. By
ignoring the needs of those who make day trips and weekend excursions
to the Outer Banks, the Park Service further impairs the visitor
Training and Permits Must Be Available Online and Highly Accessible
The American public and the visitors to the CHNSRA have responded
well to educational efforts done by a variety of user groups and the
County of Dare. Our residents and visitors have a long-standing
position of promoting and supporting responsible stewardship of the
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
While additional education and training is desirable in any
endeavor, we believe that requiring mandated training prior to the
issuance of a permit is unwarranted in this case because of the
effective job that has been done to promote and sustain responsible use
of the CHNSRA.
If NPS continues to impose a training requirement, over our
objection, then the following practical issues must be considered:
Training and permits must be available online.
Visitors to the CHNSRA generally have one (1) week in which to pack
in as much vacation as possible. Most arrive on Saturday afternoon and
stay through the calendar week. This long established pattern sets in
place a weekly cycle that threatens to choke the resources of NPS in
handling a long line of incoming visitors each Saturday. Furthermore,
the NPS permit office needs to be open well into the evening hours in
order to accommodate those traveling tremendous distances to reach Dare
NPS Must Create New Infrastructure to Support their New Rules
In their ORV Management Plan, the National Park Service mandates
new routes and vehicle free areas (VFA's). However, they have not
embarked on a program to create the additional off beach parking and
ramps that are needed for those who want pedestrian access to these
To impose new guidelines without the support system in place will
only impede and restrict access and risk further harm to the visitor
Seasonal Village Closures Should Be Based on Conditions Not Arbitrary
We believe that the seasonal closings of Village beaches has not
been a problem that warrants the arbitrary and inconsistent dates
outlined in the Final Environment Impact Statement (FEIS) upon which
the ORV Management Plan was written.
Seasonal closures, in front of Hatteras Island Villages, should be
based and depend on the season rather than arbitrary dates. This can be
effectively developed, on an annual basis, by the Superintendent in
partnership with officials from Dare and neighboring Hyde Counties.
Several Items to Set the Record Straight
The National Park Service in preparing its ORV Management Plan has
made false, misleading and deceptive statements that warrant comment.
We offer these as additional comments to establish a clear and
consistent record that reflects the position of Dare County----
NPS said in its summary of the proposed ORV rule--
``minimizing conflicts among various users.'' In this comment,
and in others like it, NPS would have everyone believe that the
people who use the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation
Area are in conflict with each other. We find this not to be
true. It is our experience that those who favor responsible ORV
access, which represents the overwhelming majority, have taken
great strides to accommodate the few who disagree. We believe
there is something for everyone at America's first national
seashore and have a documented track record of willingness to
compromise and accommodate the needs of all user groups.
NPS stated that, ``A consent decree agreed to by the
plaintiffs, the NPS, and the interveners, Dare and Hyde
counties.'' Here again, the National Park Service makes a
statement that warrants additional information. The County of
Dare did in fact join as an intervener in the consent decree.
However, NPS fails to disclose that our involvement was as a
matter of practical necessity in order to best represent the
people of Dare County. The consent decree, prepared by a few
special interest groups behind closed doors, was never exposed
to the light of public comment and review. We entered the case
as an intervener rather than risk letting the special interest
groups and a sympathetic Federal Judge close the seashore
entirely. It was a situation where we had to choose the lesser
of two evils. As Dare County Vice-Chairman Allen Burrus asked,
``Do we choose to get shot in the foot, or in the head?''
Although Dare County was a party to the consent decree as an
intervener, for NPS to imply that Dare County was in any way in
conceptual agreement with the consent decree is disingenuous.
The National Park Service claimed it conducted a ``small
business survey.'' However, the work, which was done by
contractor RTI, was never concluded or published prior to the
close of public comments on the Environmental Impact
Statements. This prevented the public from having access to the
survey and being able to make informed comments about it.
Following the eventual release of the small business survey, we
determined it was based upon a small sample size with a poor
rate of return. The skewed results of this survey stand in
stark contrast to sworn, notarized statements from business
owners that were submitted by Dare County during the public
comment process. Our survey of business owners documents a
consistent pattern of how the Consent Decree has hurt small
Finally, we challenge the NPS conclusion in saying that the
economic impact: ``will not adversely affect in a material way
the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment,
public health or safety or State, local, or Tribal governments
or communities.'' The National Park Service has dismissed and
ignored the concerns of the local business community. The hard-
working small business owners of Dare County have indeed
suffered harm and will continue to do so under the ORV
Management Plan. NPS may take comfort in saying the negative
impact will not be harmful in a ``material way.'' This
statement is untrue and insensitive to those in our community
who have seen their savings depleted, businesses ruined and
have had to lay-off valuable, long-term employees.
Dare County supports S. 2372 as sound legislation that will benefit
the residents and visitors of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Recreational Area. At the same time, we are deeply committed to
protecting shorebirds and turtles with adaptive management tools that
are based on peer reviewed science.
We believe the Interim Management Strategy, which would be
reinstituted upon passage of S. 2372, best balances resource protection
with recreational access. It would allow access decisions to be made by
the Park Superintendent, who is ultimately accountable to Congress,
rather than the courts or a rigid and flawed ORV Management Plan.
On behalf of the residents and visitors of Dare County North
Carolina, we respectfully ask you to help us preserve our culture, our
history, and our way of life by supporting S. 2372.
The Chairman. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF DERB S. CARTER, JR., DIRECTOR, NORTH CAROLINA
OFFICE, SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER
Mr. Carter. Chairman Bingaman, members of the committee,
I'm the Director of the North Carolina Office of the Southern
Environmental Law Center. I present this testimony on behalf of
the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and
National Parks Conservation Association.
Our organizations and the 2.6 million members and
supporters we represent oppose S. 2372. If enacted the bill
would overturn an off road vehicle management plan developed by
the Park Service with extensive public participation and input.
The plan and rule were 4 years in the making and 4 decades
The Park Service's final rule for managing ORV use on Cape
Hatteras is supported by facts, reason and science and
consistent with the goals of the Organic Act to conserve
wildlife in our National Parks and provide for uses that will
leave these areas unimpaired for future generations to enjoy.
I grew up in North Carolina. I visited Cape Hatteras
multiple times every year. I've driven on the beaches of Cape
Hatteras for over 40 years.
Over those years I've observed many changes. In the past
there were a few vehicles on the beach, mostly recreational
fishermen and a few commercial fishermen pulling nets. In
recent years, as more and more people acquired vehicles capable
of off road use, the numbers of vehicles began to overwhelm the
As the number of vehicles on the beaches increased I
observed dramatic declines in wildlife which have also been
documented by State and Federal biologists. Our organizations
have not proposed or supported prohibition of driving on the
beaches, on the seashore. The Cape Hatteras ORV Management Plan
and final rule creates a balanced access for all visitors to
the seashore while providing an enhanced protection for
It builds on the management measures in place at Cape
Hatteras for the last 4 years under the Consent Decree that's
been mentioned. This Consent Decree was developed and
recommended to the court by ORV advocates, Dare County,
conservation groups and the Park Service. The Consent Decree
imposed beach driving restrictions and wildlife protections
that are very similar to those in the final rule. As such the
past 4 years leading up to the final rule previews the
potential environmental benefits and economic effects of these
Over the past 4 years management under the measures
recommended by the parties to the Consent Decree, in our view,
has been a resounding success. Wildlife has rebounded. It's in
our written testimony.
Tourism has also thrived. Park visitation has held steady
or increased over the last 4 years except for 2011 when
Hurricane Irene cutoff the island road access for nearly 2
months. Tourism revenues have actually grown since the Consent
Decree and additional ORV restrictions were in place.
According to Dare County occupancy tax reports, in the last
2 years new records were set for visitor occupancy and tourism
revenue in Dare County. On Hatteras Island, the area that
encompasses most of the seashore, visitors spent a record
setting 27.8 million on lodging during July 2010 which was
broken again as a new record in July 2011.
The Final Rule provides a balanced approach to seashore
visitation designating 28 miles of the seashore as year round
ORV routes and an additional 13 miles as seasonal ORV routes.
Sixty-two percent of the seashore's beaches are designated ORV
routes. The vast majority of visitors to the seashore, however,
do not come to drive on the beach. Twenty-six miles are
designated as vehicle free areas. If you want to drive on the
beach you can. Since this plan went into effect in February
over 11,500 ORV permits have been sold by the Park Service for
those that want to drive on the beach.
The Wildlife Management Plan measures in the Final Rule are
based on peer reviewed recommendation of scientists, government
scientists. Buffers are established only when birds attempt to
nest in an area and are only put in place for the time
necessary for those birds either to successfully nest or
abandon the site. Sea turtles are protected by prohibiting
driving at night only during the sea turtle nesting season.
In sum, we oppose legislating management under an interim
strategy that will harm wildlife. This strategy also reserves
an extraordinary percentage of the miles of the seashore
beaches for the small minority of seashore users, like me, that
drive on the beach and contradicts the wishes of the vast
majority of the people who commented on the Final Rule.
We support the Final Rule adopted by the National Park
Service that provides for reasonable ORV use of the beaches of
Cape Hatteras while providing some minimum protections for
wildlife. We oppose S. 2372 which would overturn that rule.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear and testify on this
[The prepared statement of Mr. Carter follows:]
Prepared Statement of Derb S. Carter, Jr., Director, North Carolina
Office, Southern Environmental Law Center
My name is Derb S. Carter, Jr. I am an attorney and Director of the
North Carolina office of the Southern Environmental Law Center. I
present this testimony on behalf of the National Audubon Society,
Defenders of Wildlife, and National Parks and Conservation Association.
We strongly oppose S 2372. If enacted, the bill would eliminate
sensible safeguards to preserve Cape Hatteras National Seashore for
future generations to explore and enjoy. Those safeguards are embodied
in a Final Rule duly adopted by the National Park Service following
many years of input from visitors to the National Seashore and local
residents, as well as science-based measures to protect the wildlife
and natural resources of the Seashore.
I grew up in North Carolina, and I have driven on the beaches of
Cape Hatteras for over forty years. Over the years, I have observed
many changes to the Seashore. In the past, there were few vehicles on
the beaches, mostly recreational fishermen in rusted vehicles and a few
commercial fishermen pulling nets. In recent years, though, as more and
more people acquired vehicles capable of off-road use, or ORVs, the
numbers of vehicles began to overwhelm the beaches. See attached
photographs 1, 3. As the numbers of vehicles on the beaches increased,
I observed dramatic declines in wildlife. Several species of waterbirds
nest directly on the dry sand beaches of Cape Hatteras. Repeated
disturbance of birds during the nesting season, and in some cases
direct mortality from being crushed by vehicles, contributed to
significant declines in some species, and some disappeared from the
Seashore entirely. The same is true for several threatened and
endangered species of sea turtles that nest on the beaches of Cape
Hatteras. See attached photographs 2, 3, 5-7.*
* Photos have been retained in subcommittee files.
Some are surprised that driving is allowed at all on the beaches of
a national seashore, but it has long been part of the culture at Cape
Hatteras. Our organizations have not proposed or supported a complete
prohibition of driving on Cape Hatteras. Rather, we have supported
sensible protections for wildlife that relies on the Seashore's beaches
and the designation of some areas for pedestrians to enjoy beaches
without vehicles. The Final Rule struck a balance between ORV use,
pedestrian use, and resource protection that should be preserved.
We support the Final Rule adopted by the National Park Service that
provides for reasonable ORV use of the beaches of Cape Hatteras
National Seashore while providing some minimum protections for
wildlife, and we oppose S 2372, which would abolish that Rule.
Congress established Cape Hatteras National Seashore as the
nation's first national seashore in 1937. The enabling legislation for
Cape Hatteras National Seashore declares that it shall be ``permanently
preserved as a primitive wilderness'' and that ``no development of the
project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken
which would be incompatible  with the preservation of the unique
flora and fauna of the physiographic conditions now prevailing in the
area.'' 16 U.S.C. Sec. 459a-2.
The Park Service Organic Act declares that national parks and
seashores must be managed ``to conserve the scenery and the natural and
historical objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the
enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave
them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.'' 16 U.S.C.
Sec. 1. If a conflict exists between recreational uses and natural
resource protection, natural resource protection predominates.
Executive Order 11644, issued by President Nixon in 1972, directs
all federal land managers to adopt plans to manage ORV use and requires
that those plans not harm wildlife or degrade wildlife habitat.
National Park Service regulations require adoption of special
regulations to authorize ORV use in national parks and seashores. 36
C.F.R. Sec. 4.10. The National Park Service neglected adopting an ORV
management plan and special regulation for Cape Hatteras National
Seashore until a final rule was published earlier this year. It is this
special regulation (the ``Final Rule'') that this bill seeks to
the consent decree: both tourism and wildlife thrived under its terms
In April 2008, conservation organizations, ORV users, two counties,
and the National Park Service recommended in a federal lawsuit\1\ that
the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
enter a consent decree that included beach driving restrictions and
minimum wildlife protection measures on Cape Hatteras National Seashore
until an ORV management plan and special regulation was put in place.
The Consent Decree recommended by the parties imposed beach driving
restrictions and wildlife protections beginning in 2008 that are very
similar to those in the Final Rule. As such, the past four years
leading up to the Final Rule adopted in February 2012 previews the
potential environmental benefits and potential economic effects of
additional restrictions on beach driving on the Seashore.
\1\ Defenders of Wildlife et al. v. National Park Service et al.
(E.D.N.C. case no. 2:07-CV-45)
Prior to the Consent Decree, beach driving restrictions and
wildlife protections on the Seashore were somewhat ad hoc, more
responsive than pro-active, and implemented primarily by
Superintendent's Orders and on-the-ground decisions. These approaches
and measures to address the impacts of ORV use on wildlife were pulled
together in an ``Interim Protected Species Management Strategy'' in
2007. The strategy was ``interim'' because the Park Service planned to
use it only as long as it took to meet its longstanding obligation to
develop an ORV management plan and Final Rule, which would supplant the
interim strategy. The Interim Strategy generally reflected ongoing Park
Service approaches and attempts to manage the conflicts between ORV use
and wildlife on the Seashore, approaches and attempts that had not
stopped precipitous declines in many species.
Over the past four years, management under the measures recommended
by the parties to the Consent Decree has been a resounding success.
Wildlife has returned to the Seashore . The various federally
endangered, federally threatened, and state-protected species of
shorebirds, water birds, and sea turtles that live and breed at Cape
Hatteras National Seashore have rebounded. In the last two years (under
protections that are very similar to the Final Rule's), records have
been set for the number of sea turtle nests, piping plover breeding
pairs, piping plover fledged chicks, American oystercatcher fledged
chicks, least tern nests, and gull-billed tern nests. Under the Consent
Decree, two species, gull-billed terns and black skimmers, have
returned to the Seashore to nest after disappearing for several years.
Endangered and threatened sea turtle nests have increased
dramatically with record nesting years in 2010 and 2011. Nests have
exceeded abandoned nests or false crawls every year since 2007,
reversing the previous trend.
Tourism has also thrived in the four years under reasonable
wildlife protections and ORV restrictions similar to those implemented
in the Final Rule. Park visitation has held steady and increased in
some years, and tourism revenues grew. Notably, in the last two years,
new records have been set for visitor occupancy and tourism revenue in
Dare County, North Carolina, where most of the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore land is located. This economic success has been enjoyed
despite a nationwide recession, high gas prices, and hurricanes.
ORV restrictions have not hurt park visitation. For the past eight
years, Cape Hatteras visitation has held steady between a low of
2,125,005 (in 2006) and a high of 2,282,543 (in 2009). In 2011,
visitation dipped to 1,960,711, when Hurricane Irene cut off access to
Hatteras Island for nearly seven weeks from August 24 to October 11.
Dare County, NC, visitor occupancy receipts for each year under the
Consent Decree's ORV restrictions (2008 to 2011) exceeded receipts in
2007 and prior years, with 2008, 2010, and 2011 setting successive
records for all-time high receipts. Hatteras Island visitors spent a
record-setting $27.8 million on lodging during the month of July 2010
(surpassing July 2009 by 18.5 %). July 2011 occupancy receipts on
Hatteras Island then set a new high of $29,587,938 (surpassing July
2010 by 6.26%).
The NPS commissioned a study of the economic impact of the Final
Rule, which concluded among other things that the local economy would
likely adapt to the Final Rule. Several other studies show that the
large majority visitors to Cape Hatteras prefer numerous non-vehicular
activities such as swimming, sunbathing, visiting historic sites,
walking, enjoying solitude, photography, and bird watching/wildlife
viewing, over beach driving, and the majority of people who visit Cape
Hatteras come to engage in these other activities rather than beach
driving. A 2008 study by the US Fish and Wildlife Service concluded
that only 2.7% to 4% of Cape Hatteras visitors each year are ORV users
and that restrictions on beach driving would likely significantly
increase visitation by other categories of visitors. In sum, there is
little to no support for predictions that the Final Rule will harm
tourism and the local economy.
Moreover, those who want to drive on the beach continue to visit
the Seashore in large numbers. Over 11,500 ORV permits have been sold
since the Final Rule went into effect on February 15, 2012
the final rule
The Final Rule this bill would overturn should be given a chance to
build on the Consent Decree's success. The public process informing the
National Park Service's management plan included numerous public
meetings, a negotiated rulemaking process that included opportunity for
public comment at each monthly meeting, and two public comment periods,
during which tens of thousands of people commented on the draft Final
Rule and its supporting environmental impact statement. The NPS
received 21,258 written comments on the draft rule, the vast majority
of which were in favor of greater wildlife protections and ORV
The Park Service's extensive review culminated in lengthy economic
reports and cost-benefit analyses, an environmental impact statement
that examined six alternatives to the Final Rule, and a detailed
biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, all of
which supported the Final Rule as it was written. The management
measures in the Final Rule are based on a robust scientific record
supported by leading experts. In contrast, the Interim Strategy that
this Bill would reinstate is not supported by science and would cause
wildlife to decline.
The Final Rule provides a balanced approach to Seashore visitation,
reserving 28 miles of Seashore beaches as year-round ORV routes and an
additional 13 miles as seasonally open to ORVs, but reserved for
pedestrians during the peak tourism seasons. Sixty two percent of the
Seashore's beaches are designated ORV routes. Most other national
seashores either have regulations in place to manage and restrict ORV
use or do not allow ORV use at all; only one national seashore
continues to allow beach driving without a regulation in place, and it
is working on one. Four national seashores have long prohibited ORVs
entirely, while the remaining ones have regulations restricting ORV
use. All of those (except Padre Island, by operation of Texas state
law), allow driving on a much smaller percentage of their beaches than
does the Hatteras Final Rule. Thus, if anything, the number of miles
Cape Hatteras's beach set aside for ORV use in the Final Rule is
unreasonably large rather than overly restrictive.
The Rule designates 26 miles as year-round vehicle-free areas for
pedestrians, families, and wildlife, to promote pedestrian access and
reduce user conflicts between motorized and non-motorized visitors. The
new plan also proposes new parking facilities, access ramps, and water
shuttles to increase visitor access to beaches. We have supported the
NPS's proposal of, and planning for, those facilities, and support
additional appropriations to make those proposals a reality.
Wildlife protection measures in the Final Rule generally follow
those in place for four years under the Consent Decree and are designed
to allow ORV and pedestrian access consistent with giving a chance to
birds and turtles that nest on the beach. U.S. Geological Survey
recommendations for wildlife management at Cape Hatteras National
Seashore used ``best available information,'' including ``published
research as well as practical experience of scientists and wildlife
managers'' and were peer reviewed by more than 15 experts. Buffers to
prevent disturbance are set up and closed to ORV or pedestrian entry
only when birds attempt to nest and are removed once the nest fails or
the chicks fledge. The buffers are species-specific and based on the
peer-reviewed recommendations of scientists at the U.S. Geological
Survey. Sea turtles are protected by prohibiting night driving on the
beaches during turtle nesting season, posting nests, and establishing
corridors to the beach for hatchlings just prior to hatching.
In sum, the Final Rule designates nearly two-thirds of the Seashore
beaches as year-round or seasonal ORV routes, provides some pedestrian-
only areas for the vast majority of visitors who are non-ORV users, and
allows pedestrians access to all the beaches except for minimal
disturbance buffers around nesting birds during the breeding season.
S 2372 would ignore four years of planning, the comments of tens of
thousands of citizens, and the best available science, and it would
return Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the failed protocols of the
Interim Protected Species Management Strategy that proved to be
devastating to birds, sea turtles, other natural resources, and the
public's enjoyment of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches prior
to the introduction of the Consent Decree.
The Interim Strategy, to which S 2372 seeks to revert, was not
developed as a long-term solution for managing ORV use at Cape
Hatteras, but rather expressly and repeatedly states that it was
intended only to be implemented temporarily ``while a long-term ORV
management plan is developed.'' The Interim Strategy references
specific guidance on species management developed for the Seashore by
U.S. Geological Survey scientists and then explains this ``best
scientific information'' is not fully incorporated in the Interim
Strategy. In sum, management under the Interim Strategy will harm
The USFWS Biological Assessment for the Interim Strategy reiterates
that it will negatively impact the natural resources of the Seashore in
the long-term. It concludes that under the Interim Strategy ``there may
be risk of disturbance, injury or death if the ORV by-pass is within
the area utilized by the [piping plover] brood'' and that ``[t]here
could also be negative impacts if disturbance from the ORV route
restricted the brood's movements.'' The Biological Assessment of the
Interim Strategy's analysis of the Strategy's effect on sea turtles
states that ``negative impacts [of night driving] on nesting females in
the surf zone may be particularly severe'' and observed that the NPS at
Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout are ``the only federal agencies within
the nesting range allowing night time driving on beaches.''
In contrast to the Final Rule, the Interim Strategy that S 2372
seeks to reinstate:
1. Was not supported by the same degree of public
participation and contradicts the wishes of the vast majority
of people who commented on the Final Rule;
2. Is not supported by any data or evidence that it will have
a greater positive impact (or avoid a negative impact) on
tourism than the Final Rule;
3. Is not supported by an environmental impact statement or
extensive economic studies;
4. Will reserve an extraordinary percentage of the miles of
Seashore beaches for a small minority of park users, to the
exclusion of the majority of park users who do not visit the
Seashore to drive ORVs on the beaches;
5. Is not supported by the great weight of scientific
6. Was responsible, in part, for the decline in population of
the many protected species at the Seashore by 2007; and
7. Will undermine the goals and requirements of the Park
Service Organic Act to manage our parks so as to leave them
unimpaired for future generations, and the enabling act for the
Seashore to preserve the unique flora and fauna of the region.
The National Park Service's Final Rule for managing ORV use on Cape
Hatteras National Seashore is supported by facts and reason, and will
maintain balanced access for all visitors to the Seashore while
providing enhanced protection to wildlife. The Final Rule is the
outgrowth of several years of planning and public participation. It
builds on the management measures in place at Cape Hatteras for the
last four years during which visitation and tourism flourished and
wildlife began to rebound on the Seashore. Please oppose S 2372, and
instead support the National Park Service's common sense management
Senator Manchin [presiding]. Thank you, Mr. Carter. To all
3, thank you very much. At this time I'm going to ask Senator
Portman if he has any questions.
Senator Portman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just have a statement in support of one of the pieces of
legislation under consideration today.
I thank the witnesses. I don't have any questions for you.
I don't want to make you have to stay at the panel if you don't
have a desire to.
Do you have any questions for the witnesses?
Senator Manchin. I do.
Senator Portman. OK, why don't we go with that?
Senator Manchin. About the questions, OK.
First of all, I want to thank you, all 3 of you for being
here. On S. 2372, I think as I stated before and I think you
know my position on that. I respect your position also, sir.
I think first of all, the thing that intrigues us, both
from the Democrat and Republican side, this is a bipartisan
proposal from a Democrat and a Republican. We don't get that
too often here anymore. So we're really excited when we saw
Senator Burr and Senator Hagan both be for something. So it
gets all of us, as far as colleagues, a little bit more
excited, if you will.
Then for myself and being spending many, many years down
there also, as yourself, I've really enjoyed the area, enjoy
the people very much. I would ask, I guess, Mr. Carter, did you
participate in the compromise 2007, the compromise that was
Were you part of that involvement?
Mr. Carter. The organizations that we have worked with were
involved in the interim strategy, development of the interim
strategy, if that's what you're referring to.
Senator Manchin. Yes, the interim strategy. Right.
Mr. Carter. Yes, sir.
Senator Manchin. That seemed to be a pretty good compromise
that they'd worked out and a pretty good strategy everybody was
Mr. Carter. Senator, the problem with the interim strategy
was that what it did was formalize the management measures that
were already in place on the seashore and had been in place for
several years. What was clear was that those measures were not
protecting wildlife because during that period of time wildlife
was declining precipitously on the seashore. So the problem is
it just formulized that were already harming wildlife.
It ignored the recommendations that the Park Service sought
from government scientists on what needed to be done to protect
the wildlife on the seashore. It was intended only to be
interim until a final plan could be adopted. I don't think
anyone--it was called an interim plan. I don't think anyone
felt that that was to be the final plan that would go through
the full amount of public participation that this final rule
has to really, fully address the issues related to ORV use and
natural resources that needed to be addressed.
Senator Manchin. Mr. Judge, if I may. I appreciate so much
of your testimony.
Mr. Judge. Yes, sir.
Senator Manchin. It sounds to me like, you know, being
responsible for the citizens, 33,000, in that county. That
you're trying to find a balance between the people.
Mr. Judge. Absolutely. Yes, sir.
Senator Manchin. The environment.
Mr. Judge. Yes, sir. Absolutely. Dare County----
Senator Manchin. How much of an impact has this had on the
local residents there and the--I know he's telling me that, Mr.
Carter, respectfully said that it's thriving.
Mr. Judge. Dare County is about 100 miles long. We've got
beaches that stretch from the Dare County/Currituck County
line. You may be familiar with the names of Sanderling and
Duck, all the way down through Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk,
Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head over on to Roanoke Island,
Villages of Wanchese and then Hatteras Island. While, yes,
business is good, the business of commerce and tourism in Dare
County is good. That's good for us because our own building and
real estate industry have stopped, just like pretty much all
over the country.
But Hatteras Island has suffered significantly. If you go
to the Village of Buxton on Hatteras Island, which is right at
Senator Manchin. I know it well.
Mr. Judge. They suffer greatly from the first week or so of
March when the closures go into effect at Cape Point until they
are lifted, typically the end of July, the first of August.
You're taking away winter fishing, spring fishing and
vacationing and you're taking away a good chunk of the summer
Senator Manchin. Would you say a majority----
Mr. Judge. These are mom and pops.
Senator Manchin. Yes.
Mr. Judge. These are people who've built 50 room motels and
have cottages and restaurants. You know, we're not a big
manufacturing commerce. But these are people who, for
generation after generation, my colleague and Vice Chairman of
the Board is here with me today. His family has been in the
grocery store business since 1850s. It's a struggle to hang on.
Senator Manchin. Is it fair to say that the majority of the
people of Dare County oppose the----
Mr. Judge. The vast majority of Dare County, absolutely.
Support the Interim Management Plan. We have another
colleague in the audience today representing CHAPA and some of
the other organizations. They're not wild about the Interim
Management Plan. But they were at the table and they
participated since the spring of 2005 when public hearing after
public hearing, giving our input and offering our----
Senator Manchin. I'm sure you are pleased you have both of
your Senators, the Democrat and the Republican supporting this.
Mr. Judge. Absolutely. It's an issue of access, Senator.
It's often referred to as an ORV driving plan. The off road
vehicle dominates the discussion. But it's access. It's access
whether you're on foot or whether you're on--whether you're
inside a car.
When they say beaches are open to driving what they're
really saying is routes are designated. Just because it's a
designated ORV route, does not mean it's open, sir.
Senator Manchin. Thank you, sir.
Senator Portman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank
you for your testimony.
I'd like to address briefly, if I could, another bill
that's before the committee today. This is the World War II
Memorial Prayer Act. It's S. 3078. I want to thank the Chair,
for his support and Chairman Bingaman's willingness and Ranking
Member Murkowski's willingness to have it included on today's
This is a bipartisan bill that will lead to the placement
of a plaque or inscription at the World War II memorial in
Washington, DC, with a prayer that Franklin D. Roosevelt shared
with the Nation by radio address on D-Day on June 6, 1944. With
D-Day underway President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked our
Nation to come together in prayer for the men who were engaged
in this dangerous but very important battle.
He chose a prayer instead of a speech because he viewed it
as a solemn occasion. It's a very powerful prayer drawing on
our Nation's rich Judeo/Christian heritage and values. It
brought strength and inspiration to many on what was a very
challenging time for our country.
On June 6, 2012, just a few weeks ago on the 68th
anniversary, I had the honor along with Senator Lieberman, who
is a co-sponsor of the legislation, to not just introduce the
bill but also commemorate that prayer on the floor that day. We
worked closely with the National Park Service on this to ensure
that the plaque or inscription does not disrupt the World War
II memorial or bypass the Commemorative Works Act process which
governs monuments in Washington, DC.
The placement design of the plaque would be assigned to a
Commemorative Works approval and review process which makes it
consistent with legislation that's been passed by previous
Congresses. The legislation is adding some historical context
to a beautiful memorial, adding another layer of commemoration,
not taking anything from a memorial that's already in place.
My friend in the House of Representatives Congressman Bill
Johnson introduced the House companion bill which passed the
House earlier this year with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of
386 to 26. A lot of outside groups have been very supportive of
I'll read you a letter received from the American Legion
which says that the World War II Memorial Prayer Act would
bolster the already reverential World War II memorial in
Washington, DC. This organization, along with others believe
that this an apt way to, not just as they say, remember the
sacrifices but also inspire Americans.
I do want to address, if I could briefly, Mr. Chairman, a
letter which was received by the committee last night. This
letter was received from the Americans United for Separation of
Church and State in opposition to World War II Memorial Prayer
Act. I just want to point out, if I could, a couple of
inaccuracies in the letter.
The letter writers might not have known the process that
we've gone through with the National Park Service. But the
letter claims that the legislation circumvents the
Commemorative Works Act when in fact, section three of our bill
clearly states that design and placement of the plaque will be
subject to the CWA. That's a change from the House bill. Again
we work closely with the Park Service on that.
Second, the letter claims that Congress has never added an
inscription or a plaque to an existing monument. There is
precedent for this. In fact in the 106th Congress, H.R. 2879
was passed into law which provided for a plaque to be placed
within the Lincoln Memorial area to commemorate Martin Luther
King's iconic, ``I have a Dream'' speech.
Third, the letter claims that we are quote, ``using the
World War II memorial prayer bill for political gain.'' Again,
this couldn't be further from the truth except for it's been
bipartisan from the start. Both the House and the Senate, 386
Representatives supported the bill's passage on the House side.
In the Senate we have already 22 co-sponsors just in the last
couple weeks, both Republican and Democrat.
So I hope my other colleagues on the committee will join in
encouraging that this important and extraordinary prayer and
this example of the power of faith in our history can be added
to the World War II memorial.
I also, Mr. Chairman, would like to ask unanimous consent
that the entire FDR prayer be able to be placed in the record
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Again, thank you all for your
patience here today and coming to testify before other
important legislation before us. I'm looking forward to working
with the committee on getting this bill reported out and
getting it to the floor for a vote and providing this
inspirational prayer on our National Mall.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Manchin. Thank you, Senator Portman.
Before we conclude if any of you all would like to make
another statement, a brief statement. We want to thank you all
for coming and participating. I don't see any further questions
coming and we do, tremendously, we appreciate.
Mr. Carter. Senator Manchin, just one point.
Senator Manchin. Yes, sir, Mr. Carter.
Mr. Carter. Just to make sure there's clear understanding
on this. In Chairman Judge's statement he said, I believe, that
27 percent of the seashore is open. As of the most recent
report from the Park Service there is 65 miles of seashore,
approximately. This is the peak of the bird breeding season.
Yet, over 50 miles of that seashore, according to the Park
Service last week, is open to any pedestrian that wants to walk
Senator Manchin. If you want to submit that, we will check
it and confirm it and you submit that.
Mr. Carter. OK. We'll submit that for the record.
Senator Manchin. Absolutely, sir.
Mr. Carter. OK.
Senator Manchin. Mr. Judge.
Mr. Judge. Yes, sir. I believe I cited the date of June
14th, not last week. You know, if you can walk on the beach,
but can't get to the beach. It's disingenuous to say that's
There are only 11 accesses in the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore. They were designed as drive over accesses. With those
accesses there are 805 parking spaces. So unless you have the
means to own or to rent an ocean front house in the villages
that gives you direct access from your house down to the beach,
you have to use one of those accesses.
Senator Manchin. Yes.
Mr. Judge. Now, if those accesses are closed because
there's an American Oystercatcher nest next to it. It restricts
you from getting into it to park and use that access to walk
through. You wind up having to cross dunes.
The first thing the NPS does is string up new sticks and
new strings and new signs to don't walk on the dunes. Then you
wind up parking on the shoulder of the road. They'll go to
NCDOT and get no parking signs put up.
Senator, this is restriction of access. Dare County
categorically supports open and free access for everyone,
however they want to use that seashore as long as it's legal
and moral. We absolutely support the preservation of all forms
of wildlife. That's why we strongly supported, we participated
for 2 years from the spring of 2005 on to work with and
testified at public hearings and gave our input on the
management plan of 2007.
Senator Manchin. How long had it been open up until--27 is
when you had to compromise, right?
Mr. Judge. That's when they created something called a plan
that went through the NEPA process.
Senator Manchin. Right.
Mr. Judge. Had the U.S. Fish and Wildlife statement. There
had been previous plans over the years. We don't dispute the
fact that National Park Service had not done what it should
have done. We're not here to defend them.
We, you know, but it wasn't done. So----
Senator Manchin. Sure.
Mr. Judge. I mean, it was done by the Superintendent over
the years and his ability to manage and set rules and
Senator Manchin. We'll enter everything that you all, both,
have given us. We appreciate and very respectful. You have a
beautiful county and a beautiful State to boot. Beautiful
West Virginia is very appreciative because we do use it.
Mr. Judge. We do appreciate West Virginians. We know a lot
come down there.
Senator Manchin. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Judge. Thank you, sir.
Senator Manchin. Thank both of you.
[Whereupon, at 4:15 p.m. the hearing was adjourned.]
Responses to Additional Questions
Responses of Herbert Frost to Questions From Senator Murkowski
s. 2273--designating the talkeetna ranger station in talkeetna, alaska,
as the walter harper talkeetna ranger station
Question 1. As we discussed at the hearing, the National Park
Service's official position on S. 2273 is one of ``no objection.'' My
understanding of the reasoning behind a ``no objection'' position on S.
2273, as opposed to an official position of support, is that because
Mr. Harper passed away before Denali National Park actually existed, it
is therefore impossible for there to be any real ties between him and
the park. Is there anything my office can do to convince the Park
Service that regardless of when Mr. Harper passed away, this is a bill
the agency should support, not simply hold no objection to? Is the Park
Service open to even considering a change in their support level on S.
Answer. We believe that the position taken by the National Park
Service (NPS) on the naming of the Talkeetna Ranger Station for Walter
Harper strikes the appropriate balance between recognizing Mr. Harper's
historic accomplishment and upholding NPS policy. The NPS policy on
commemorative works is to refrain from supporting naming park
structures for a person unless the association between the park and the
person is of exceptional importance. While the fact that Mr. Harper was
the first person to reach the Mt. McKinley summit is noteworthy in the
history of Denali National Park, his achievement occurred before the
park was established and therefore, there was no direct association
between the two.
s. 2372--cape hatteras national seashore recreational area access
Question 2. While the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is far from
my home state, based on everything I've heard and read about the
situation at Cape Hatteras, it appears that the National Park Service
has closed large areas of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore far
beyond what is needed to address resource challenges, and the impacts
on the community have been challenging. Why is the Park Service
instituting resource protection buffers at Hatteras far greater than
we've seen anywhere else? And why are such massive buffers put in place
for species that are not under endangered species act protections?
Answer. Species protection measures cannot reasonably be compared
from one site to another without fully considering the specific
circumstances at each site and the context provided by the number and
variety of protected species involved, the levels of off-road vehicle
(ORV) use, and the underlying restrictions provided by the respective
ORV management plans and special regulations. The Cape Hatteras plan
was specifically designed to be effective with the high level ofORV use
that is still allowed at Cape Hatteras. Less protective buffer
distances may be adequate at locations where the level ofORV use is
much lower to begin with.
The laws, regulations, and policies applicable to Cape Hatteras
require the NPS to conserve and protect other species, not just those
listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Buffer
distances, specific to each species, are designed to minimize the
impacts of human disturbance on nesting birds and flightless chicks in
the majority of situations, given the level of visitation and
recreational use in areas of sensitive wildlife habitat. The buffer
distances selected by the NPS were developed after considering the best
available science. They will be reevaluated ahd adjusted, if necessary,
through a five-year periodic review process.
Question 3. Executive Order 13474, which amended Executive Order
12962, states that ``recreational fishing shall be managed as a
sustainable activity in national wildlife refuges, national parks,
national monuments, national marine sanctuaries, marine protected
areas, or any other relevant conservation or management areas or
activities under any Federal authority, consistent with applicable
law.'' How is the final ORV rule, which essentially closes the majority
of the most popular surf fishing areas in the park, compatible with
this executive order?
Answer. The final ORV management rule is consistent with the
Executive Order on recreational fishing, because the order addresses
fishing as a sustainable activity ``consistent with applicable law.''
In order to be consistent with the laws requiring the NPS to conserve
and protect wildlife at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it has been
necessary to restrict ORV access to certain fishing areas at certain
The special regulation does not permanently close the majority of
the most popular surf fishing areas of the park to visitor access.
Temporary seasonal resource protection measures are used to ensure that
nesting habitat is available for use by protected species of beach
nesting birds and sea turtles during the breeding season. This results
in temporary seasonal closures of some popular fishing areas that are
located in sensitive wildlife habitat, but it does not close these
sites to visitor access during the rest of the year, nor does it
restrict all visitor access to these areas during the breeding season.
s. 1897--gettysburg national military park expansion
Question 4. Mr. Frost, when reading this bill and your testimony it
was made clear that one of the main reasons for this legislation was
that the borough government no longer wanted to budget the funds
necessary to operate the Train Station property, so they have asked
that the National Park Service (Federal Government) take over the
property and pay to maintain the property. My question for you is, do
you think we should set this type of precedent for state and local
governments to rid themselves of property to the Federal Government if
they no longer wish to pay to maintain a property?
Answer. While it is true that the Borough of Gettysburg has asked
the NPS to take over ownership and operation of the Gettysburg Train
Station, the resource is one that the NPS believes is very important to
protect, and its preservation, operation, and management, in
cooperation with partners, is a goal of the park's General Management
Plan. The anticipated acquisition cost for the completely rehabilitated
train station is approximately $772,000, subject to an appraisal by the
federal government. It is expected that funding to acquire this land
would not come from federal appropriations, but would be provided by
non-governmental entities. The park has a preliminary commitment from
the Gettysburg Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) to provide all
staffing requirements for operations of an information and orientation
center in the train station, thereby alleviating the park of staff
costs. Anticipated operating costs for the train station that will be
the responsibility of the NPS are limited to utility costs, with the
rest being paid by the Gettysburg CVB. In the event that the Gettysburg
CVB is unable to provide staffing and funding for operations, the NPS
would seek another park partner to cover these costs and requirements.
Responses of Herbert Frost to Questions From Senator Heller
s. 2372--cape hatteras national seashore recreational area access
Question 1. The Park Service is claiming that the restrictions
under the ORV plan are not having significant economic impacts on the
community, but this is based off of information for the entirety of
Dare County. Why hasn't the park service conducted an economic study
based upon the areas most directly affected by park operations--
Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island?
Answer. The NPS did, in fact, evaluate the potential economic
impacts of the proposed ORV management actions on the eight villages of
Hatteras and Ocracoke islands in both the November 2010 final Cape
Hatteras National Seashore ORV Management Plan I Environmental Impact
Statement process and in the Benefit-Cost Analysis of Final ORV Use
Regulations in Cape Hatteras National Seashore. These analyses
considered the Outer Banks portion of Dare and Hyde counties as the
economic region of influence, the geographic area in which the
predominant social and economic impacts for the action would likely
take place, but the analyses focused on the villages of Ocracoke and
Hatteras islands as being the communities most affected by the proposed
NPS actions because they are located within the Seashore.
The analyses for the NPS action found that the economic region of
influence would experience negligible to minor long-term adverse
impacts and small businesses in the Seashore villages would experience
negligible to moderate long-term adverse impacts, with the potential
for larger short-term impacts during the breeding season to specific
businesses that cater most directly to ORV users. The analyses found
that the designation of vehicle-free areas under the final rule would
be beneficial for pedestrians and could increase overall visitation,
increasing the probability that overall revenue impacts would be at the
low rather than the high end of the range. The long-run impact of the
NPS action would depend in part on how current and new visitors adjust
their trips and spending in response to the management changes and the
adaptations made by the business community to these changes.
Question 2. Why is the Park Service instituting resource protection
buffers for nesting birds far greater than in other federal or state
parks? Any why are such massive buffers put in place for species that
are not under endangered species act protections?
Answer. Please see the response to the first Cape Hatteras question
from Senator Murkowski, above.
Question 3. Executive Order 13474, which amended Executive Order
12962, states that ``recreational fishing shall be managed as a
sustainable activity in national wildlife refuges, national parks,
national monuments, national marine sanctuaries, marine protected
areas, or any other relevant conservation or management areas or
activities under any Federal authority, consistent with applicable
law.'' How is the final ORV rule, which essentially closes the majority
of the most popular surf fishing areas in the park, compatible with
this executive order?
Answer. Please see the response to the second Cape Hatteras
question from Senator Murkowski, above.
Additional Material Submitted for the Record
Statement of Hon. Lamar Alexander, U.S. Senator From Tennessee,
on S. 3300
The Manhattan Project is one of the most significant events in
American history, and according to some historians it is the single
most significant event of the 20th Century. In 2004, I joined Senator
Bingaman as a cosponsor of the Manhattan Project National Historical
Park Study Act, which directed the Department of Interior to conduct a
study of the Manhattan Project sites to determine the feasibility of
including the sites in the National Park System.
In 2011, Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Department of the Interior,
recommended the creation of a Manhattan Project National Historical
Park with units at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and
Hanford, Washington. According to Secretary Salazar, ``the Manhattan
Project ushered in the atomic age, changed the role of the United
States in the world community, and set the stage for the Cold War.''
Support for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act is
bipartisan, bicameral, and has the strong support of the Energy
Communities Alliance and preservation organizations, including the
National Parks Conservation Association.
Today it is impossible to imagine that in September 1942, in a
valley in East Tennessee, 3,000 farmers and their families were told to
leave their homes to make way for a ``secret city'' that would bring
100,000 men and women together to help end World War II and forever
change the course of human history. The story of the Manhattan Project
is not only about World War II, it is about the people who lived and
worked at these sites, the scientific achievements they made, and the
impact of their work on our nation's history. I have long supported
establishing a national historic park to protect the Manhattan Project
sites because of the project's important role in our history, but also
because of its importance to the history and people of Tennessee.
Many have asked how a valley in East Tennessee became the first
Manhattan Project site. Ray Smith, Y-12's Historian, has reason to
believe politics might have played a role. According to Mr. Smith,
President Roosevelt needed to convince Congress to spend a large amount
of money without knowing what is was going to be used for. President
Roosevelt asked Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kenneth Douglas
McKellar, a Democrat from Tennessee, if this could be done. Senator
McKellar is said to have replied, ``Yes, Mr. President, I can do that
for you ... now just where in Tennessee are you going to put that
Senator McKellar's decision to get President Roosevelt to locate
the project in Tennessee was not welcome news to everyone. John Rice
Irwin's family lived on a farm in the 59,000 acre area that would soon
only be known as the Clinton Engineer Works. John said that one day the
family came home from Nash Copeland's general store, and on the screen
door on their front porch was a notice from the War Department. John
kept a copy of one of the notices from the War Department that was
posted on his neighbor's door. The notice, dated November 11, 1942,
said, ``The War Department intends to take possession of your farm on
December 1, 1942. It will be necessary for you to move not later than
that date.'' Wilma Brooks' family found a similar notice, and her
family only had 18 days to leave a farm they had lived and worked on
for 200 years.
Oak Ridge, which was not listed on a map until 1949, became the
home for 100,000 scientists, engineers, machinists, operators and
construction workers. Very few of the scientists knew what they were
working on, and even fewer knew anything about uranium. Bill Wilcox, a
young chemist tells the story of going to work for Eastman Kodak to do
``war work,'' and only later learning that he would be working to
produce uranium, which he was never allowed to call by its name. Today,
Mr. Wilcox is the City of Oak Ridge's historian and a tireless advocate
for the creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
Harvey Kite, another chemist who came to work at Y-12 in 1944 recalled
that he and some of his co-workers suspected that the uranium was for a
nuclear weapon, but they did not know for sure until the atomic bomb
was first used.
Gladys Owens, a ``Calutron Girl,'' worked for eight months
operating the massive electromagnetic separation machines in ``Beta 2''
of Y-12 without knowing anything about her work. All Ms. Owens knew was
that if she wore pins in her hair, the machines she operated would pull
them out and stick them like glue to any metal surface she came near.
The X-10 Graphite Reactor, located at the Oak Ridge National
Laboratory, was the world's first full-scale nuclear reactor. X-10 not
only produced plutonium, it was also the first reactor used to produce
radioactive isotopes for medical therapy which marked the birth of
modern nuclear medicine which has saved countless lives. The X-10
Graphite Reactor has been preserved as a National Historical Landmark
since 1966, and exists today in virtually the same condition as it did
in 1943 when the reactor first achieved criticality. These are stories
of our nation's history, and what is remarkable is that the facilities
used by workers like Gladys Owens have been preserved and exist today
almost exactly as they did so many years ago. I am proud of the
Department of Energy for investing in our history and preserving these
one-of-a-kind facilities. The Department has also worked closely with
the National Park Service and local communities to make this unique
national park model a reality.
As Americans we have a special obligation to preserve and protect
our heritage, and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park will
ensure that all Americans learn about the significance of the Manhattan
Project and how it continues to shape our history. Tom Beehan, the
Mayor of the City of Oak Ridge, who testified on behalf of the Energy
Communities Alliance, made several recommendations which I hope the
Committee will consider. I look forward to working with the Committee
to address these recommendations, and to make sure that there is enough
flexibility in the legislation so that communities can work with the
National Park Service and the Department of Energy to protect
nationally significant sites that are critical to understanding the
role the Manhattan Project played in our nation's history.
Statement of Hon. Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S. Senator From Texas,
on S. 2324
I want to thank Chairman Bingaman and Ranking Member Murkowski of
the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for holding today's
hearing in the Subcommittee on National Parks to consider lands bills
that impact Texas. S. 2324, the Upper Neches River Wild and Scenic
Study Act, is of particular concern to many of my constituents.
My bill, the Upper Neches River Wild and Scenic Study Act, would
direct the Secretary of the Interior to do a study of an approximately
225-mile segment of the main stem of the Neches River and to report to
Congress on the results of the study.
The Neches River is an important Texas river that provides a
habitat for a variety of wildlife. The free-flowing state of the river
creates an ideal environment for aquatic animals. In addition, its
location in the heart of the Central Flyway makes the river an
important area for migrating birds.
The purpose of the study is to ensure private property rights and
recreational activities on the river are protected.
This legislation enjoys the strong support of the Texas
Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Neches River, Houston Audubon,
and many other groups. This bill would further the conservation of the
Neches River for current and future generations.
Chairman Bingaman and Ranking Member Murkowski, I am certain
today's hearing will provide the committee a better understanding of my
legislation and the Neches River. I thank you for your attention to
Statement of Hon. Joseph I. Lieberman, U.S. Senator From Connecticut,
on S. 2286
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to offer a statement in
support of this important legislation, the Lower Farmington River and
Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act.
I can praise this bill at length, but I would like to begin by
nothing that, for me, the passage of the Lower Farmington River and
Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act would be meaningful capstone to
an effort that has spanned my entire Senate career. In 1993 and 1994, I
worked alongside Congresswoman Nancy Johnson to successfully introduce
and pass legislation that added 14 miles of the Upper Farmington River
to the National Wild and Scenic River System. That initiative brought
town, state and federal officials, conservation groups, and
recreational and energy interests together in a partnership to achieve
Connecticut's first contribution to the National Wild and Scenic River
In the years that followed, I worked with Representative Johnson
and Senator Chris Dodd to introduce and pass the Lower Farmington River
and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Study Act in 2006. That
legislation initiated the study of the Lower Farmington River, which
has since been completed and has confirmed the river's substantial
natural, cultural, and recreational value to the state of Connecticut.
Now, it is critical that we add the Lower Farmington River and Salmon
Brook to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System in order to preserve its
extraordinary ecological and recreational heritage.
Passing through ten towns in northwestern Connecticut, the Lower
Farmington River and Salmon Brook is home to extensive wetlands, unique
geology, and stunning vistas. The pristine and unique qualities of this
river system and the surrounding landscape provide visitors and
residents alike with a special location for hiking, paddling, and
fishing. This unspoiled natural retreat and its stunning biodiversity
have literally been a part of our history in Connecticut for millennia,
as archeologists have found evidence of human activity surrounding the
river that date back over 11,000 years. From prehistoric campsites, to
the Underground Railroad network, and the birth of manufacturing that
sent goods to markets across the world, the river and its banks are an
essential component of our nation's history.
But the importance of the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook
goes beyond its contribution to our nation's history. Among the
country's most biologically diverse ecosystem, the river is home to 30
species of finfish, 105 bird species, and the only river in New England
that is home to all 12 of the freshwater mussel species native to the
region, one of which is a federally listed endangered species. The
unique qualities of the soil sorounding the river has allowed Native
Americans, colonists and Connecticut residents today to grow tobacco
that is reknowned the world over for its superior quality.
As the Committee is aware, this legislation would add the Lower
Farmington and Salmon Brook to the Wild and Scenic River System. This
has the support of all the communities in the study area, the state,
and the civic organizations that have actively preserved the Farmington
River, and has been championed by the Farmington River Watershed
Association. I am thankful for Representative Chris Murphy working so
hard in the House to preserve the Farmington River, and I appreciate
the strong support of Senator Blumenthal and Representative John Larson
for this bill. I would also like to thank the National Park Service for
its efforts during the course of its study describing the great
importance of this watershed. I understand NPS would prefer to publish
its final report on this study before Congress acts on the bill. The
study was completed last summer, and the final report has been cleared
by the administration for public release and commencement of the formal
90 day review period. Though I look forward to reviewing the final
report, which will recommend designation, I do not believe this should
delay Senate action.
In sum, I am confident that if examined, the Lower Farmington River
and Salmon Brook will receive the federal recognition that they
deserve. While we may not be Colorado, I would welcome the Chairman to
come kayak down the beautiful Farmington River so we can show off the
natural beauty of our state.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Statement of the Atomic Heritage Foundation, on S. 3300
The Atomic Heritage Foundation thanks Chairman Jeff Bingaman and
co-sponsors Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom
Udall (D-NM) and Patty Murray (D-WA) for joining in introducing S. 3300
to create a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The Atomic
Heritage Foundation has long advocated the creation of a Manhattan
Project National Historical Park and is extremely grateful for your
invaluable leadership and support.
The proposed park would preserve Manhattan Project properties at
the three major sites at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Hanford. This is the
first recognition of the Manhattan Project, the top-secret effort to
make an atomic bomb in World War II, in the national park system. As
Secretary Salazar said in support of the new park, ``The development of
the atomic bomb in multiple locations across the United States is an
important story and one of the most transformative events in our
national park service is america's storyteller
The National Park Service will tell the Manhattan Project story and
give voice to the creators and eyewitnesses to the project that
irreversibly changed the history of the world. With 130,000 people
working in secret locations, the Manhattan Project was a great work of
A culturally diverse group, the workforce included recent
immigrants who fled anti-Semitism in Europe as well as numerous
Hispanics, Native Americans, and African-Americans. Young women who had
just graduated from high school were recruited to operate the controls
of uranium enrichment facilities while young men who joined the Army's
Special Engineer Detachment found themselves working on explosive
lenses and detonation devices. The contributions of each of these
diverse groups and the communities surrounding the sites will be part
of the interpretation.
While some anti-nuclear groups fear that the new park will glorify
the bomb, the National Park Service's presentation will be balanced,
recognizing diverse perspectives on the atomic bomb project and its
legacy. Many other controversial chapters of our history such as the
Civil War and Japanese-American internment camps are interpreted in an
unbiased and professional manner by the National Park Service. The
Manhattan Project history and its legacy should be no different. As
America's storyteller, the National Park Service has honed its skills
for nearly a century.
model for second century park
On the eve of the National Park Service's centennial in 2016, the
Second Century Commission recommended creating new parks that will
strengthen education and reflect the diversity of the American
experience. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park could be a
model for a Second Century Park.
The park could improve the American public's understanding of
nuclear science and the history of nuclear weapons development. Given
the significance of nuclear weapons issues in world affairs today, the
public should have a better grasp of these issues.
The park could also help revive American youth's interest in
science and engineering by celebrating innovators who harnessed atomic
energy for the first time. Tracing this history to the present,
students will learn about the new fields that emerged from the
Manhattan Project, including nuclear energy and medicine, high-speed
scientific computing and outer space exploration.
The Manhattan Project demonstrated that scientific discoveries and
technological advances can become key drivers of economic growth. On
July 15, 2011, MIT President Susan Hockfield called for reinvigorating
``America's innovation system,'' a ``direct descendant'' from the
Manhattan Project, as a means to stimulate the economy today.
economic impact of the new park
One of the greatest economic benefits of the new park will be to
increase heritage tourism to the former Manhattan Project sites. For
much of the past seventy years, the economies of the local communities
have been dominated by the Department of Energy and its contractors.
The new park will help diversify the local and regional economies.
Studies in the travel industry have shown that people want to see
something authentic. With an increasing number of stores and
restaurants now part of national chains, travelers are hard pressed to
find something unique. The fascinating story of the ``Secret Cities''
and resources such as the B Reactor at Hanford and the V Site at Los
Alamos will be a great draw for visitors.
On average, for every dollar that is invested in a national park,
there are four dollars generated in the local economy. Many parks have
ratios that are far greater, such as Acadia National Park in Maine.
Considering the ten thousand people from all 50 states and 39 countries
who have signed up to tour the B Reactor alone, we are confident that
the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park will exceed
expectations and be an engine for the economies of the three sites and
We have watched the draft legislation emerge over the past several
months and are very pleased that the Senate and House bills are now in
close harmony. There are a few differences that will no doubt be
resolved in conference. We would like to highlight a few issues as the
Committee considers amendments to the current bill.
1. Allow Inclusion of Nationally Significant Sites. We
suggest that the Committee consider providing the Secretary of
Interior authority to add sites that are nationally significant
and suitable for inclusion in the Historic Park. Currently,
only those properties listed in Section 5(b) and those
properties that are under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of
Energy can be added under Section 5(d). The authority to add
Manhattan Project resources that are not under the jurisdiction
of the Secretary of Energy, such as Jackson Square in Oak
Ridge, would be very valuable as the park is created and takes
shape over the next several years.
2. Secretary of Energy Responsibility for Maintenance. The
House version adds Section 6(c)(4) that the Secretary of Energy
``shall retain authority and legal obligations for historic
preservation and general maintenance, including to ensure safe
access, in connection with the Department's Manhattan Project
resources.'' This reinforces the agreement between the
Departments of Interior and Energy that led to their joint
recommendation of the park in July 2011. Having this provision
in the legislation would be helpful.
3. Purchase from Willing Sellers. Section 8(d) in the House
bill does not provide authority for the Secretary of the
Interior to ``purchase from willing sellers,'' but only to
acquire properties through donation or exchange. We believe
that the Senate bill is preferable so that owners will be able
to be compensated for their land or properties where donation
and exchange are not reasonable alternatives.
4. Acquisition for Visitor and Administrative Facilities The
Senate bill's Section 8(d)(2) provides that ``The Secretary may
acquire land or interests in land in the vicinity of the
Historical Park for visitor and administrative facilities.''
The House bill in Section 8(e)(1)(B) provides authority for the
Secretary to accept donations and enter into cooperative
agreements with governments and others for visitor services and
administrative facilities. We prefer the Senate approach that
provides the authority for acquiring the land or interests in
land. This opens up more possibilities for the future park's
visitor and administrative facilities.
For ten years, the Atomic Heritage Foundation has worked closely
with colleagues from the Manhattan Project sites, Manhattan Project
veterans, historians and scholars, Federal, State and local government
officials and others to preserve and interpret the Manhattan Project.
We would be pleased to assist you and your staff in whatever way we can
to see the legislation creating a park enacted by the 112th Congress.
Thank you and all of the members of the Committee and its staff for
your dedication and hard work to make the Manhattan Project National
Historical Park a reality.
Statement of Heather McClenahan, Executive Director, Los Alamos
Historical Society, on S. 3300
Historians have called the Manhattan Project the most significant
undertaking of the 20th century. Employing hundreds of thousands at its
peak, located in widely scattered, secret communities, the project
brought an end to World War II and ushered in the atomic age. As an
organization that has preserved Manhattan Project history for nearly
fifty years, the Los Almos Historical Society is pleased to support
this legislation. Key points in our testimony include:
The significance of this history and why it should justify a
national historical park
The broad support and cooperation this park has generated
The positive economic impact the park will have on northern
The importance of partnerships in making this park a reality
At its heart, the story of the Manhattan Project is an amazing
episode of our great nation's history. It brought together the
brightest scientists, many of them immigrants who came to this country
seeking freedom. They faced pressure to end the world's most horrible
war by creating something that had only existed in theory. It is a
story about young people with a can-do spirit who brought about a great
technological achievement. It is the story of unleashing a mysterious
force of nature and of fostering fear and uncertainty about the future
of humankind. It is a story about creativity and about destruction. It
is a scientific story, a soldier's story, a spy story, and a human
story. The story of the Manhattan Project is one that, from the
perspectives of all who participated and all who were affected, must be
The Los Alamos Historical Society appreciates the Committee on
Energy and Natural Resources' Chairman Jeff Bingaman's leadership in
considering S. 3300, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. We
are also grateful for the leadership of Senators Alexander, Cantwell,
Udall, and Murray in championing this legislation.
I am Heather McClenahan, executive director of the Los Alamos
Historical Society a non-profit organization whose mission is to
preserve, promote, and communicate the remarkable history and inspiring
stories of Los Alamos and its people for our community, for the global
audience, and for future generations. Among our many activities, we
operate the Los Alamos Historical Museum and own, in a life trust, the
World War II home of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of
the Manhattan Project. As the owner of this home in the Los Alamos
Historic Distirct, we are property owners within the potential boundary
of the park. Additionally, helping to establish the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park is one of seven planks in our strategic plan.
My testimony is in support of S. 3300, a bill to establish the
Manhattan Project National Historical Park. As long-time keepers of the
history of Los Alamos, we fully support this bill's efforts to
``enhance the protection and preservation of such resources and provide
for comprehensive interpretation and public understanding of this
nationally significant story in 20th century American history.''
I will make four key points. One, why this history should be
commemorated in a national park; two, the broad community support this
park enjoys; three, why this will have positive impact on northern New
Mexico; and four, why partnerships will be critical to making this park
become a reality.
In 2007, recognizing the impact of a possible national park on our
community, the Los Alamos County Council appointed an ad hoc committee
to determine what such a park might look like in Los Alamos. I served
on that committee, and the details of our recommendations are included
in pages seven through nine of this document. In summary, we envisioned
a downtown national park visitor center where guests would learn about
the Manhattan Project and then be sent to existing venues to learn
more, a recommendation the National Park Service adopted in its final
report to Congress.
Tied together under the auspices of a national park, the Manhattan
Project industrial sites in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford, along
with the places where soldiers and scientists lived and formed
communities, will create a full picture of the history.
Some critics have said that a national park dedicated to the
Manhattan Project will glorify the atomic bomb or create a theme park
for weapons of mass destruction. I disagree. I have never visited a
national park that was anything like a Disneyland. In fact, the
National Park Service, of all government agencies, is the most trusted
for telling complete stories from all sides--the good and bad, the
painful and the poignant. Parks and monuments that commemorate battles
or massacres do not celebrate ugly moments in American history. They
teach about them; they help us, as a nation, to reflect and learn.
So, in the rich tradition of our national park system, the
Manhattan Project National Historical Park will need to include stories
about the devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, environmental damage,
and the fear of atomic annihilation that are its legacies, along with
the stories of great technical and scientific achievement and the
decisive ending of World War II. The nation needs to understand the
Manhattan Project from all sides.
The communities called out in this legislation--Los Alamos, Oak
Ridge, and Hanford--fully support this park. In 2008, our ad hoc
committee held public meetings in Los Alamos as well as meetings with
potential partners, from tour guides to the nearby pueblos. After some
initial--and false--concern that the park service might take over the
iconic Fuller Lodge in downtown Los Alamos as a park headquarters was
resolved, the community came out fully in support of the park. The
County Council passed a resolution to that effect in February 2010 (see
pages ten and eleven of this document), and, most recently, a group of
community leaders sent a letter to Senator Bingaman in support of this
legislation (pages twelve and thirteen of this document).* We have had
several meetings with our counterparts in Hanford and Oak Ridge to
discuss park possibilties. In short, we are excited about this park and
are happy to assist the Department of Interior, the Department of
Energy, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and others to make it happen.
We believe it will be a benefit not only to Los Alamos but to nearby
communities, as well.
* Documents have been retained in subcommittee files.
That leads to my third point, that the Manhattan Project National
Historical Park will provide economic benefits to northern New Mexico.
With, by the Park Services own estimate, hundreds of thousands of
additional annual visitors, the region will need workers not only in
tourism and service industries but in construction and other related
As our ad hoc committee suggested, the story of the Manhattan
Project isn't just about world-class scientists. The story includes
people from the rural communities and pueblos surrounding Los Alamos,
mostly Native Americans and Hispanics, who provided the backbone of a
labor force that built and maintained the laboratories and facilities,
cleaned the houses, and drove the trucks. The Manhattan Project forever
changed rustic northern New Mexico. In fact, the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park will, once again, transform these communities,
creating an economic driver based on heritage tourism that provides
jobs, educational opportunities, and improved futures to traditionally
Finally, we appreciate with enthusiasm the statement in Section 3
of this bill that one purpose of the park is ``to assist the Department
of Energy, Historical Park communities, historical societies, and other
interested organizations and individuals in efforts to preserve and
protect the historically significant resources associated with the
Manhattan Project.'' Protecting these resources is something the Los
Alamos Historical Society has been working on for nearly fifty years.
Partnerships and cooperative agreements between agencies, non-profit
groups such as ours, and even private property owners will make this
park happen, bringing together widespread resources for the benefit of
our nation as the Manhattan Project did years ago.
Again, I urge you to view the recommendations from the ad hoc
committee, specifically the section about partnerships. Manhattan
Project resources, from museums to the laboratory and from tour guides
to the famous ``gatekeeper'' office at 109 E. Palace Avenue in Santa
Fe, are dispersed and disorganized when it comes to the theme of
Manhattan Project history. The national park will bring these resources
together, along with those of Hanford and Oak Ridge, for visitors to
understand a bigger picture.
We are also especially pleased to see in the final section of the
bill that both the Department of Interior and the Department of Energy
will be able to accept monetary or service donations for the park. This
is particularly important to restoration work at Los Alamos National
Laboratory and will assist the lab in preserving a significant historic
site. One individual has been waiting in the wings for years to donate
to the site's restoration but has had no mechnism for giving the money.
The park will allow this preservation project to take place.
We sincerely hope the differences between S. 3300 and H.R. 5987 can
be worked out. Specifically, Section 8(d) in the House bill specifies
that the National Park Service can only accept donated lands for
inclusion in the park while Section 8(d)(1)(B) of the Senate bill
allows the park service to purchase from ``willing sellers.'' Knowing
the historic neighborhood as we do, we are concerned that these
historically significant homes where the top scientists of the
Manhattan Project lived may be excluded with the ``donation only''
requirement. The Park Service feasibility study recommended a central
visitors center located in or near the Los Alamos Historic District,
and the language in the House bill makes that difficult to accomplish.
We fear it could significantly delay the park.
Therefore, we hope the Senate and House committee members will work
together to produce language that allows the National Park Service to
work with willing sellers on acquisitions for the park. A park service
location on or near historic Bathtub Row will benefit visitors by
creating a better sense of place and historical experience.
In sum, along with many community partners who have worked on this
project, the Los Alamos Historical Society fully supports the
establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in
order to preserve and teach this important history. The park has
tremendous support in our community. We believe it will have economic
benefit to northern New Mexico. We are heartened to see the Department
of Energy willing to work with the Department of Interior and other
partners to make this world-changing history accessible.
The Los Alamos Historical Museum is located in the building where
Gen. Leslie Groves stayed when he came to Project Y, and it serves as
the focal point of the community's Historic District. We look forward
to sharing our stories with the many visitors a national historical
park will bring in addition to sharing our resources with the National
Park Service to assist in creation of the park. Working with local,
state, and national partners to help create the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park is a long-term goal in the Los Alamos
Historical Society's strategic plan. We look forward to working with
you to achieve that goal.
recommendations to the los alamos county council from the manhattan
project national historical park (mpnhp) ad hoc committee
In 2004, Congress approved and the President signed legislation
directing the NPS to conduct a special resource study to determine the
national significance, suitability, and feasibility of designating one
or more historic sites of the Manhattan Project for potential inclusion
in the National Park System. This park could include non-contiguous
sites in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Hanford, and Dayton. The NPS held
meetings in each of the communities during the spring and summer of
2006 to gather public input.
In August 2007, Los Alamos County Council approved the
establishment of an ad hoc committee to help determine what the
proposed non-contiguous Manhattan Project National Historical Park
might look like in Los Alamos. This committee is comprised of
representatives involved in historic preservation and tourism from
throughout the community, including Los Alamos National Laboratory
(LANL). After approval by Council, the committee will present its plan
to NPS representatives when they come to Los Alamos for a second round
of community meetings in 2008.
ii. committee conduct
The committee began meeting bi-weekly in August 2007 and discussed
several ideas, such as what ``attractions'' might be included in a
national park and who locally might participate. These ideas were
expanded upon and refined over time. A great deal of Manhattan Project
history has already been preserved in our community in places such as
the Los Alamos Historical Museum, the Bradbury Science Museum, and the
Oppenheimer House. The committee members do not believe that the NPS
needs to ``reinvent the wheel.''
In October, the committee took a special ``behind the fence'' tour
of sites at LANL which may be included in the park, either as part of
periodic tours or which may be open to more public access in the
On Nov. 6 and 9, the committee held meetings by invitation and word
of mouth for potential partners in the park. Approximately fifteen
people attended the first meeting and ten attended the second. At both
meetings, ad hoc committee members shared their vision for the park
site (see III. below) Most of these potential partners were intrigued
with the idea of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park within
the community and looked forward to getting more information from the
On November 13, the committee held an advertised public meeting in
Fuller Lodge to discuss this vision for the park. Another fifteen
people attended and added to the committee's ideas.
Based on input from these meetings, the committee has refined its
vision and proposes the following:
iii. park vision
A. Centralized Park Headquarters
At a central Visitor Center, which would include information and
interpretation, a Park Ranger would greet visitors, tell them about the
National Park and then direct them to other sites in the area where
they would be able to see tangible historical sites and objects from
the Manhattan Project (Ashley Pond, Lamy Train Station) as well as
interpretation and information that is already taking place in the
community (LA Historical Museum, Bradbury Science Museum).
a. Guided and Self-Guided: These would include ranger-guided
walking tours through the downtown historic district and other
sites; driving and walking audio tours; as well as guided tours
that would show visitors accessible areas of LANL, historic
downtown, the old Main Gate location, and other sites.
b. LANL: With approval and coordination of LANL and the
Department of Energy officials, periodic ``Behind the Fence
Tours'' to V-Site, Gun Site, and other restored Manhattan
Project-era buildings, similar to the tours held at Trinity
Potential partners in this project are those who own, maintain or
have some other association (such as tourist services or items) with
tangible historical objects or buildings from the Manhattan Project--
something that will enhance visitors' experiences and increase their
understanding of this time in history. The lists below are not all-
D. Potential Themes of Interpretation
1. People/Social History
a. Scientists and their families
i. In Los Alamos (SEDs, MPs, etc.)
ii. In the Pacific, including POWs
c. Local Pueblo and Hispanic populations whose lives
were affected and who were an essential part of the
d. Local historical figures such as Edith Warner,
Dorothy McKibbin, Evelyn Frey
e. Stories of people affected by the bombings, both
American and Japanese
f. Responses to the bomb
a. Bradbury Science Museum
b. Northern New Mexico
d. International Relations
e. Cold War
i. Civilian control of nuclear resources
ii. The growth of government-run, multi-
disciplinary science labs
4. Growth of the town of Los Alamos
5. What happened to people after the war?
E. Potential Visitor Sites
a. The Los Alamos Historical Museum
b. The Bradbury Science Museum
c. Oppenheimer House
d. Ashley Pond
e. Ice House Memorial
f. Fuller Lodge
g. Historic Walking Tour of Bathtub Row
h. Periodic ``Behind the Fence'' Tours to V-Site, Gun
Site, and other restored Manhattan-era buildings at
i. Unitarian Church (former dorm)
j. Little Theater (former Rec Hall)
k. Christian Science Church (former dorm)
l. Hill Diner (WWII-era building)
m. Main Hill Road/Main Gate area
n. Last Sundt apartment building in Los Alamos
(Dentist office on Trinity)
o. Crossroads Bible Church (WW II-era Theater)
a. Bandelier National Monument
b. Pajarito Mountain Ski Area
c. Valles Caldera
d. Otowi Bridge
e. Sundt apartments in Espanola on Railroad Avenue
3. Santa Fe
a. 109 E. Palace Ave.
b. La Fonda
c. Lamy Train Station
d. Delgado Street Bridge and other spy-related sites
a. Oxnard Air Field (Kirtland AFB)
b. National Atomic Museum
5. Future considerations
a. Sculptures, outdoor art, and other monuments to
the Manhattan Project era that are currently under
National Parks Conservation Association,
Washington, DC, June 25, 2012.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 304 Dirksen Senate
Building, Washington, DC.
RE: Testimony in Support of S. 3300, the Manhattan Project National
Historical Park Act
Dear Chairman Bingaman: On behalf of the National Parks
Conservation Association (NPCA) and the more than 600,000 members and
supporters we have nationwide, I appreciate the opportunity to submit
testimony on S. 3300, a bill to establish the Manhattan Project
National Historical Park.
NPCA supports this legislation, which will establish a national
historical park with sites in New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington to
preserve, interpret and make accessible buildings, locations, and
artifacts related to the development of the atomic bomb. In addition,
this park will provide the unique opportunity to improve public
understanding of the Manhattan Project, the legacy of the United States
of America's splitting of the atom--including the devastation caused by
the atomic bombs used to attack Japan, the role this decision played in
bringing an end to World War II, and the impact the harnessing of the
atom has had on our country and the world.
The development of the atomic bomb is an American story of
ingenuity and scientific discovery, an achievement that some have
called ``the single most significant event of the 20th century.'' The
splitting of the atom has led to new advancements in medicine and
physics, yet it also produced grave moral questions and decisions with
enormous human and environmental costs. As such, we support your
effort, through S. 3300, to call for the National Park Service to
interpret both the Manhattan Project and the full measure of its
Our National Park System may be unique in the world in that it
contains some of our country's most special places and commemorates
some of our crowning achievements. Yet, it also memorializes and
commemorates some of our most controversial and difficult events,
allowing future generations to learn from past experience.
For these reasons, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park
would make an excellent addition to our nation's park system. The
National Parks Second Century Commission recommended creating parks
that reflect the diversity of the American experience as the National
Park Service approaches its lOQth birthday in 2016 and beyond. The
Manhattan Project's multifaceted story embraces aspects of our nation's
scientific, industrial, military, economic, social, moral and cultural
history, and merits inclusion in our national storybook. A strong
showing of Americans from across the county support such a site,
according to the National Park Service Special Resource study, which
says, ``Public response to the study was overwhelmingly in favor of a
national park unit...''
NPCA and our more than 600,000 members and supporters encourage the
Senate to pass S. 3300, to preserve and protect the historic Manhattan
Project sites deemed nationally significant by the National Park
Service, deepen public understanding of the role our nation played in
ushering in of the atomic age, and educate future generations about the
awesome power, consequences and moral responsibility wrought through
Craig D. Obey,
Sr. Vice President, Government Affairs.
Prayer of President Franklin D. Roosevelt
June 6, 1944
My Fellow Americans:
Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at
that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were
crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to
pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon
a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion,
and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness
to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For
the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come
with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know
that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest--until
the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's
souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are
lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of
conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They
fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy
people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the
haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them,
Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home--fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and
brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever
with them--help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed
faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of
special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I
ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we
rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of
prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too--strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the
contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear
sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever
they may be.
And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our
sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the
keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary
events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment--let not these deter
us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our
enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances.
Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into
a world unity that will spell a sure peace--a peace invulnerable to the
schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in
freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
Statement of Nicholas J. Lund, Civil War Associate, National Parks
Conservation Association, on S. 1897
I write to submit my written statement in strong support of S.
1897, the Gettysburg National Military Park Expansion Act of 2011,
introduced by Senator Robert Casey, which would authorize the National
Park Service to acquire the Lincoln Train Station in downtown
Gettysburg and 45 acres of land at Plum Run for addition to Gettysburg
National Military Park.
Opened in 1859, the train station served as the western terminus of
the Gettysburg Railroad line to Hanover, Pennsylvania. In June 1863,
General Jubal Early's Confederate troops burned a down-rail trestle
stopping service until 10 days after the Battle. The station served as
a field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg, with more than 15,000
wounded soldiers transported through the depot once service was
restored. However, perhaps the train station's most famous moment came
on the evening of November 18, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln
stepped onto its platform on his way to dedicate the Gettysburg
National Cemetery and give the Gettysburg Address.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the train
station, now owned by the Borough of Gettysburg, was rehabilitated and
opened to the public in 2006. Due to funding difficulties, the Borough
cannot keep the station staffed and opened to the public. The Borough
would like to pass the title to the NPS so the station can remain open
to the public. Once acquired by the Park Service, the property will be
run in a partnership with the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau
as a downtown information and orientation center.
In April 2009, 45 acres of land adjacent to Gettysburg NMP and
within the Battlefield Historic District was donated to the Gettysburg
Foundation. This historically significant land sits near the eastern
base of Big Round Top at the southern end of the battlefield. The land
is known to have historic significance related to the battle;
skirmishes and hard fighting took place in the area on July 2nd and
3rd. In addition to its historic value, Plum Run harbors critical
wetlands and wildlife habitats, providing habitat for a variety of
plants and animals. The Gettysburg Foundation currently owns this land
and wants to donate it to the National Park Service.
I appreciate the opportunity to present this statement on behalf of
the National Parks Conservation Association. Our mission is to preserve
and protect America's National Parks for future generations. Since
1919, NPCA has been the leading voice of the American people working to
protect our national parks and historic landmarks from Yellowstone to
Gettysburg. Our more than 600,000 members and supporters across the
country, including more than 28,000 in Pennsylvania, are everyday
Americans who want to preserve our national parks for our children and
grandchildren to learn from and enjoy.
Statement of Marcia Lyons, on S. 2372
I am writing in reference to S. 2372 addressing access to Cape
Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS). I do not support abandoning the new
off-road vehicle (ORV) plan and replacing it with the Interim Species
Protection Plan. I worked at CHNS for 32 years before retiring in 2008.
Between 1995 and 2005, I worked directly with the management of the
Pak's natural resources. Over these three decades, CHNS ignored
President Nixon's Executive Order to establish an ORV plan. , I
witnessed a sharp increase in the unlawful and unregulated use of ORVs.
All protected species of beach nesting birds sharply declined. The
number of aborted nesting attempts by sea turtles increased. A
federally threatened plant, sea beach amaranth disappeared. CHNS
received many visitor complaints concerning traffic on the beach. It
took legal action to force the Park to address the issues. The Interim
Species Protection Plan is not a genuine ORV plan. Its purpose was to
buy some time before the National Park Service (NPS) adopted a
comprehensive plan. It has many shortfalls. It was put together in
short order by NPS staff without input from public or field experts.
The Interim Plan did not adequately consider many basic biological
requirements of protected species impacted by ORV use. Visitor use
conflicts were not addressed nor were NPS Values such as soundscape,
view shed and solitude. The push for going back to the Interim Plan is
all about ORV access. Representatives of ORV groups had little support
for pedestrian-only beaches during the NPS negotiated rule-making
meetings. Now they seek pedestrian interest claiming that they too are
loosing access if vehicles are not allowed on a specific stretch of
beach. CHNS's weekly access report identifies many miles of vehicle-
free beaches open to pedestrians. Dare County Tourist Bureau figures
show a continuing growth in visitation. Hatteras Island is incredibly
busy at present. If businesses report lower profits, it may be due to
the fact that there are just more competing businesses now or visitors
may not have as much disposable cash. Last year's growth was curtailed
only after Hurricane Irene broke a new inlet on Hatteras Island. People
who like to drive on the beach are understandably disappointed. They
where used to driving most everywhere day and night. But this is a
National Park not a county or state park . Managing it under the
Organic Act promotes sustainability--also good for the economy.
Congress established CHNS, the first of its kind, because so much of
our Nation's wild beaches were being lost. Going back to the Interim
Species Protection Plan will promote more loss and put the government
back into costly litigation. Thank you for your time.
Statement of Derb S. Carter, Jr., Southern Environmental Law Center,
on S. 2372
This testimony supplements the testimony previously presented on
behalf of the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, and
National Parks Conservation Association. As we stated previously, we
strongly oppose S 2372 because it would eliminate sensible safeguards
to preserve Cape Hatteras National Seashore for future generations to
explore and enjoy. It would unreasonably and unjustifiably abolish the
Final Rule duly adopted by the National Park Service following many
years of input from visitors to the National Seashore and local
residents, scientific inquiry, economic study, and environmental
analysis. It would return the Seashore to unsustainable management
practices that allowed ORV use to dominate the Seashore's beaches at
the expense of both wildlife and visitors hoping to enjoy the beach on
We provide this supplemental testimony primarily to clarify several
matters raised by testimony before the committee and by questions of
committee members at the June 27, 2012 hearing.
1. How much of the Seashore is open for visitors to use?
In the last full paragraph on page 4 of the written testimony of
Dare County's representative, he claims that, ``during the recent week
of June 14, 2012, only 27% of the seashore's miles were open to
everyone.'' In the first full paragraph on page 5, the county's
representative goes on to claim that the Cape Hatteras Superintendent
has ``shut down'' ``most of the seashore.'' This is not true and
grossly understates the actual availability of the Seashore for
visitors to enjoy. In fact, nearly three times as much of the
seashore--76.3%--was open to visitors the week of June 14, 2012, which
is also the peak of resource closures for breeding birds.
The National Park Service publishes a weekly report delineating
which parts of Cape Hatteras National Seashore are open for both ORV
driving and pedestrian use, which parts are open to pedestrians only,
and which are closed temporarily (usually for natural resource
protection). During the week that the county's representative mentioned
in his testimony, 49.5 miles (76.3%) of the Seashore's 64.9 miles of
beach were open to park visitors (pedestrians and/or ORV users) and
only 23.7% were temporarily closed for resource protection. The number
cited in the county's testimony was, in fact, only those miles open for
ORV drivers (17.8 miles or 27.4%). By consistently disregarding the
many miles open to pedestrians, Dare County attempts to perpetuate the
myth that the pedestrian visitors, who constitute the majority of
visitors to the Seashore, do not matter and that Cape Hatteras National
Seashore can only be enjoyed from behind the wheel of an ORV. By
claiming that the many miles of seashore that are open for pedestrians
to enjoy are, instead, ``closed,'' the county's representative and
other ORV proponents are misinforming the public and quite likely
suppressing tourism on the Outer Banks by discouraging visitors from
This week, even more miles of beach are available to all visitors
to the Seashore: 50.9 miles (78.4%) of the 64.9 miles of beach at Cape
Hatteras are open (19.3 miles for both ORVs and pedestrians and 31.6
for pedestrians only.) The areas of the Seashore closed for resource
protection will steadily decrease over the next few weeks as bird
breeding season winds down. The Park Service's reports for both the
week of June 14th and the week of July 5th are attached.
2. What is the truth regarding tourism and visitation trends at Cape
On pages 6-7 of his testimony, Dare County's representative makes
numerous unsubstantiated statements regarding the alleged economic harm
he claims is being caused by the Final Rule. This section of his
testimony is notably devoid of specific facts or verifiable details of
any kind. To support his dire predictions of adverse economic impact,
Dare County's representative alleges that we were ``cherry-picking
economic indicators'' from distant geographic regions. Yet our prior
testimony reported Dare County's own data for the area in the immediate
vicinity of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. That data showed that on
Hatteras Island, which contains 41 of the Seashore's 65 miles of
beaches, tourism is thriving. Dare County has reported that July 2010
set a record for the highest occupancy receipts (in other words,
tourist rental income) for Hatteras Island as compared to any month in
any prior year. Then July 2011 beat that record, despite the fact that
July is the peak of breeding season and thus the peak of beach closures
for breeding wildlife protection. This record was set for Hatteras
Island, and not some distant portion of the county.
To provide complete clarity on this issue, we have attached a chart
showing the trends in tourism spending on Hatteras Island beginning in
2007, the year before ORV restrictions began. The information was
provided by the Dare County tourism bureau and speaks for itself.
Likewise, we have attached another chart showing the trends in
seashore visitation beginning in 2005, several years before the ORV
restrictions began. It shows that, while there have been fluctuations
(perhaps caused by such factors as the weather, the number of weekends
in a given month, gas prices, and so on), the number of people visiting
and enjoying the seashore has remained steady and even increased in
some months since ORV restrictions began. The information is the actual
number of visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore itself, not some
distant beach, and also speaks for itself.
3. How will the Seashore be managed if S 2372 is passed?
Finally, in the first full paragraph on page 3 of his testimony,
Dare County's representative erroneously implies that Cape Hatteras
National Seashore is currently being managed under a Consent Decree and
that the legislation (S 2372) will replace the Consent Decree with the
Interim Plan. In reality, the legislation will replace a Final Rule
that went through a full rulemaking process, unlike the Interim
Strategy that the county's representative supports.
The distinction between the three management policies is an
important one. The 2007 Interim Strategy was put together by the Park
Service as a temporary measure while it attempted to come into
compliance with federal law with a proper regulation to manage ORV use
and beach driving for the protection of natural resources. The Interim
Strategy did little more than memorialize the Park Service's past
failed efforts to manage ORV use and protect resources. It was
specifically designed to be a temporary stop-gap measure, and it was
not subject to the same rigorous environmental and economic review and
rulemaking process as an actual regulation.
In 2008, the parties to a federal lawsuit, including Dare County,
Hyde County, a coalition of ORV proponents called CHAPA, the National
Park Service, and several conservation organizations, engaged in weeks
of settlement negotiations. Those negotiations eventually culminated in
a settlement agreement, signed by all those parties and approved by a
federal judge in 2008. The agreement became known as the Consent
Decree. A court transcript shows that the county's attorneys
represented in federal court that the counties and CHAPA ``participated
in those negotiations in good faith . . . we join with the other
parties in asking [the court] to enter the Consent Decree.'' The 2008
Consent Decree set a deadline for the ORV management rule to be
finalized, and it put in place temporary wildlife protections and ORV
use restrictions, upon which all parties had agreed, until the Final
Rule could be implemented.
During four years of successful management under the Consent Decree
(the summers of 2008-2011), the Park Service engaged in a full
rulemaking process that culminated in the 2012 Final Rule. That process
included numerous public meetings, a negotiated rulemaking with
opportunity for public comment at each monthly meeting, and two public
comment periods. Tens of thousands of people commented on the draft
rule, and the vast majority favored wildlife protections and ORV
restrictions that were equal to or greater than the terms of the Final
Rule. Although the Final Rule contains some of the same terms that
proved successful under four years of the Consent Decree, S 2372 would
abolish the 2012 Final Rule despite all that public input (not the 2008
Consent Decree, as Dare County's representative implies).
By implying that S 2372 will replace the 2008 Consent Decree with
the 2007 Interim Strategy, the county's representative diverts
attention from the fact that the vast weight of public opinion,
science, economic study, and law supports the 2012 Final Rule. In sum,
the National Park Service's Final Rule alone is supported by facts and
reason, and will build on the many successes--for both wildlife and
tourism--of the past four years of ORV management while maintaining
balanced access for all visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
In sum, for the reasons explained above and in our original
testimony, the National Park Service's Final Rule for managing ORV use
on Cape Hatteras National Seashore is supported by facts and reason, as
well as years of planning and public participation. It will provide
balanced access for all visitors to the Seashore while providing the
minimum necessary protection for wildlife. It builds on the management
measures in place at Cape Hatteras for the last four years during which
visitation and tourism flourished and wildlife began to rebound on the
Seashore. Please oppose S 2372, and instead support the National Park
Service's Final Plan.
Statement of Warren Judge, Chairman, Dare County Board of
Commissioners, on S. 2372
In order to complete and clarify the record, Dare County is
submitting the following as additional testimony to address important
issues that were raised at the Hearing before the Senate Subcommittee
on National Parks on June 27, 2012. Our purpose is to shed further
light on the pressing need for immediate passage of S. 2372, which
would reinstate the Interim Management Plan for the Cape Hatteras
National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA).
the majority of people support responsible recreational access
Dare County has been an active participant in every phase of the
long regulatory process for the CHNSRA. Along with others in our
community, we attended each public hearing, served on the Negotiated
Rulemaking Committee, and submitted formal comments on every
Environment Impact Statement prepared by the National Park Service.
Throughout the regulatory process, we have observed that most
people share our core belief that resource protection can effectively
be balanced with responsible recreational access. The people of our
community have overwhelmingly been in agreement with this position.
Reflecting the will of the people, the Dare County Board of
Commissioners has consistently been in unanimous bi-partisan support of
recreational access. Our position has also been enthusiastically
endorsed by our delegation to the North Carolina Legislature.
Additionally, our Representative to the U.S. House of Representatives,
Walter B. Jones, and U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan have
joined in bi-partisan support of federal legislation that would restore
balance to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
In addition to the support that has been expressed locally, in the
State Capitol, and in Washington, people in large numbers across
America have joined the cause of access and fairness for the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
At the June 27, 2012 Senate Subcommittee hearing, comments were
made by Herbert Frost, representing the National Park Service, and
echoed by Derb Carter from the Southern Environmental Law Center
(SCLC), claiming that restrictive beach closures have received
widespread popular support. As the elected body closest to the
epicenter of the seashore, Dare County has found this not to be true.
Their claims about the popularity of the consent decree are inaccurate.
Furthermore, they show disrespect by discounting the unanimous, bi-
partisan support of the Congressman and Senators who represent the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area in Washington, D.C.
During the regulatory process, we have encountered a large number
of individuals and organizations who share our view. They represent a
diverse group of people who treasure the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore Recreational Area and want to see wildlife prosper for the
benefit of future generations. In addition to bi-partisan support from
the Dare County Board of Commissioners, the following have made formal
statements in support of our position----
Hyde County Board of Commissioners
Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce
Dare County Tourism Board
Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA)
North Carolina Beach Buggy Association (NCBBA)
Cape Hatteras Anglers Club
American Sportfishing Association (ASA)
United Mobil Access Preservation Alliance (UMAP)
United Four Wheel Drive Associations
Watersports Industry Association, Inc.
Recreational Fishing Alliance
Ocracoke Civic and Business Association
Hatteras Village Civic Association
Avon Property Owners Association
Assateague Mobile Sportsfishermen Association
New Jersey Beach Buggy Association
Long Island Beach Buggy Association
Rhode Island Mobile Sportsfishermen
Davis Island Fishing Federation
Massachusetts Beach Buggy Association
Virginia Coastal Access Now
Virginia Beach Anglers Club
Tidewater Anglers Club
Delaware Mobil Surf Fishermen
Farragut Striper Club
Association of Surf Angling Clubs
CCA of North Carolina
American Motorcyclist Association
weather & natural predators--the greatest threat to wildlife
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area on the Outer
Banks of North Carolina is a vulnerable coastline exposed to severe
weather conditions. As such, it is not likely ever to make headlines
for protected species breeding results. The reason is clear. The
greatest threat to shorebirds and sea turtles is from weather and
Those who want to severely restrict human access choose to ignore
this basic principle. Instead, whenever breeding results are lacking
for a particular year, they would have Congress and the public believe
that humans are to blame rather than rightly attributing the failure to
adverse weather and natural predators. However, as is explained in the
following section, whenever any breeding success occurs, the special
interest groups quickly ascribe credit to their far-reaching
science to regulate the seashore must have integrity
Dare County advocates the use of sound scientific decision making
in governing the seashore. Throughout the regulatory process, we have
worked closely with informed and dedicated groups such as CHAPA, OBPA,
NCBBA, and the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club. These knowledgeable,
grassroots organizations have been on the forefront of advancing
science-based protection to achieve recovery plan goals while assuring
reasonable access for people.
In addition to working in partnership with community groups, Dare
County has benefited from the support and council offered by concerned
individuals in the scientific community, including Dr. Mike Berry. His
views are highly respected and worthy of serious consideration. Dr.
Berry was a senior manager and scientist with the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) serving as the Deputy Director of the National
Center for Environmental Assessment at Research Triangle Park, North
Carolina. He also taught environmental science and policy at the
University of North Carolina and is currently a writer and science
Dr. Berry has long been a dedicated champion in advocating that the
scientific process be the basis for determining public policy. He
explains, ``Best available science as touted by environmental groups is
opinion disguised as science.''
Following are nine (9) items identified by Dr. Berry and Dare
County as important scientific principles and rationale to consider in
evaluating the success of resource management in the Cape Hatteras
National Seashore Recreational Area.
(1) The Interim Management Plan fully titled Interim Protected
Species Management Strategy/Environmental Assessment was publically
discussed at great length and reviewed under the NEPA provisions in
2006. It was signed into effect in July 2007 and published in the
As indicated at page 30 in the Finding of No Significant Impact
Interim Management Strategy (See Attached) ``There are no significant
adverse impacts on public health, public safety, threatened or
endangered species, sites or districts listed in or eligible for
listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or other unique
characteristics of the region. In addition, no highly uncertain or
highly controversial impacts, unique or unknown risks, significant
cumulative effects, or elements of precedence have been identified and
implementing the selected alternative (modified preferred alternative--
Alternative D (Access/Research Component Focus) with Elements of
Alternative A) will not violate any federal, state, or local
environmental protection law. There will be no impairment of park
resources or values resulting from implementation of the selected
The USFWS reviewed and concurred with the Interim Strategy and the
Finding of No Significant Impact. In the Biological Opinion submitted
to the NPS, August 14, 2006, USFWS states with regard to the Interim
``After reviewing the current status of the breeding population of
the Atlantic Coast population of the piping plover, wintering
population of the Atlantic Coast population of the piping plover, the
wintering population of the Great Lakes population of the piping
plover, the wintering population of the Great Plains population of the
piping plover, seabeach amaranth, and loggerhead, green, leatherback,
hawksbill, and kemp's ridley sea turtles, the environmental baseline
for the action area, the effects of the proposed action and the
cumulative effects, it is the USFWS's biological opinion that
implementation of the Strategy, as proposed, is not likely to
jeopardize the continued existence of these species.'' (See
``Conclusion'' at page 75 of USFWS Opinion)
The NPS rational for the management provisions of Interim Plan is
indicated at page four in the Finding of No Significant Impact.
``SELECTED ALTERNATIVE (MODIFIED PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE--ALTERNATIVE
D (ACCESS/RESEARCH COMPONENT FOCUS) WITH ELEMENTS OF ALTERNATIVE A
Based on the analysis presented in the strategy/EA, the NPS
identified Alternative D--Access/Research Component Focus as the
preferred alternative for implementation. The preferred alternative is
described on pages 59-63 and in tables 1, 2, and 3 of the strategy/EA.
However, after considering public comment on the strategy/EA; park
field experience during the 2006 breeding season; the USFWS Amended
Biological Opinion (2007) (attachment 1 to this FONSI); new research
(``Effects of human recreation on the incubation behavior of American
Oystercatchers'' by McGowan C.P. and T.R. Simons, Wilson Journal of
Ornithology 118(4): 485-293, 2006); and professional judgment, NPS has
decided to implement a combination of Alternative D--Access/Research
Component Focus and some elements of Alternative A--Continuation of
2004 Management that pertain to managing sensitive species that are not
listed under the ESA (see tables 1, 2, and 3 of this document). The
basic rationale for this choice is that alternative D, as modified by
elements of alternative A, best provides for both protection of
federally and non-federally listed species and for continued
recreational use and access consistent with required management of
protected species during the interim period, until a long-term ORV
management plan/EIS/regulation is developed, approved, and implemented.
The modified preferred alternative--Alternative D (Access/Research
Component Focus) with Elements of Alternative A is incorporated into
the strategy/EA by Errata (attachment 2 to this FONSI). All elements of
the modified preferred alternative were fully assessed in the strategy/
EA under alternative A or alternative D.''
As indicated in the Finding of No Significant Impact, the selected
alternative proved for both public access to the seashore and resource
protection based on professional judgment of NPS managers, and
consistent with management suggestions of USGS.
The Interim Plan established ``best professional judgment'' closure
areas that did not previously exist. (See Pages 34-40 Finding of No
(2) Prior to the implementation of the Interim Plan, there was
concern voiced mainly by environmental activist organizations that
species decline was occurring on the national seashore as the result of
increased public access, mainly off road vehicles. For five consecutive
years (2001-2006), published resource numbers were low compared to
previous years and were often touted to indicate that species
populations, particularly birds, were in decline due to anthropogenic
causes. However, it is often not mentioned that during this same time
period the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area
experienced back-to-back storms that produced a significant distorting
and transforming effect on the seashore ecosystem.
Due to the fact that the National Park Service, resource managers,
and researchers had limited habitat specific research and monitoring
data, the actual numbers of species, species behavior, and size of
species populations at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational
Area were unknown and often simply speculated in the form of
``professional judgment''. It is important to recognize that
``judgments'' and ``opinions'' in the absence of data are not science.
USGS, the research arm of the Department of Interior, in the
introduction to the document titled Synthesis of Management,
Monitoring, and Protection Protocols for Threatened for Endangered
Species and Species of Special Concern at Cape Hatteras National
Seashore, North Carolina made the following observation giving credence
to the fact that the low bird counts published for a few years prior to
2007 were most likely not indicative of the actual condition of
``Over the past decade, management of these natural resources has
been inconsistent at CAHA, partially due to the lack of effective and
consistent monitoring of the location, reproductive activity, mortality
factors, and winter habitat use of these species.''
Recognizing the lack of effective and consistent monitoring that
existed prior to 2007, the Interim Plan established an enhanced and
intensive resources monitoring program for birds and turtles that had
not previously existed. Starting in 2007, NPS began seeking out,
observing, and reporting birds at more heightened level than ever
before. Since instituting the enhanced monitoring program in 2007, bird
numbers have increased. (See Pages 34-40 in Finding of No Significant
(3) In April 2008, environmental activists organizations sued to
overturn the Interim Plan, claiming that the plan was not based on
sound science and closure boundary distances prescribe by USGS. The
Southern Environmental Law Center, the Audubon Society, and Defenders
of Wildlife, sued the National Park Service and convinced a federal
judge without any oral argument or expert testimony to issue a consent
decree to convert the most popular and frequented sections of the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area into mile after mile of
``Bird Use Area'' for a large part of the visitor season.
The public was given no opportunity to review or comment on the
poorly crafted environmental management provisions of the consent
decree. The provisions were slapped together in a period of about three
weeks in April of 2008, behind closed doors, with no independent
technical input and discussion.
Closure boundaries for four bird species (Piping Plover, Least
Tern, Colonial Water Birds, American Oystercatcher), none of which are
endangered, have prevented thousands of hard working, tax paying
citizens and visitors from around the world from entering into large
areas of the seashore. Thousands of visitors are channeled into now
much overcrowded sections of the seashore, threatening to overrun the
carrying capacity of those ecosystems.
The consequence of this non-public involved environmental decision
is disastrous. As indicated in testimony this has had a devastating
effect on the economy of Hatteras Island.
The access denying provisions of the consent decree provisions,
which are unnecessarily restrictive and not based on objective science
assessment, have been incorporated with additions into the final ORV
management plan that the proposed legislation S. 2372 is designed to
(4) Environmental activists often referred to National Park Service
annual resource reports in their self-promoting press releases, public
testimony, and periodic presentations to the federal judge overseeing
the consent decree. They use the reports to make claims that the public
access restrictive resource closures of the consent decree, which they
crafted and imposed without public review, are resulting in ``highest
ever'' bird and turtle observations.
The annual resource reports have never been independently reviewed
or verified for accuracy.
The National Park Service and the environmental activists groups
are comparing numbers in these recent annual resource reports to
questionable low bird count numbers published prior to 2007 that were
not observed using the current level of intense and enhanced monitoring
and measurement that has been in place since 2007. Such an ``apples and
oranges'' comparison is in no way valid or useful in indicating
In the absence of an enhanced monitoring program prior to 2007, it
is plausible that various bird counts were not as depleted and low as
claimed by environmental activists but that they were simply not being
observed, counted, and reported as at the current intense monitoring
It is also plausible that any noted increase in bird counts since
2007 are due to a new enhanced program for seeking out, observing, and
reporting birds rather than the creation of public access restrictive
At no time in the past four years has any federal official
demonstrated through independent audit or review, the validity of these
reports or taken a hard look at environmental activists claims. None of
the annual reports related to the consent decree for 2008, 2009, 2010,
and 2011 were ever peer reviewed or validated by competent independent
science advisors in open public forum or openly discussed by interested
The bird and turtle numbers that environmental activists lawyers
refer to come from annual National Park Service reports that are not
consistent with the Presidential Directive for Science Integrity, and
Department of Interior and National Park Service policies for
scientific transparency and review. The reports do not indicate an
author or a federal scientist who takes responsibility for the validity
of the data. The public does not know who--by name, affiliation, and
technical qualifications--made the observations and recorded the data.
The public has no knowledge of chain of custody or quality assurance of
the data. The public does not know who specifically wrote the reports.
The public cannot get at the facts and verify claims.
Resource documents indicate that previously in 2007, annual bird
reports commissioned by the National Park Service were co-authored by
Audubon Society members.
(5) There is no statistically significant environmental benefit
indicated because of the restrictive access provisions of the Consent
Decree or the Final ORV Plan.
Nowhere in any annual resource report of the past four years does
National Park Service demonstrate or claim a cause and effect
relationship between overly restrictive closures provided by the
consent decree and bird and turtle production.
Environmental activists and the National Park Service cannot
demonstrate or prove that wildlife production of birds and turtles was
improved under the overly restrictive provisions of the consent decree
any more than would have occurred had the provisions of the publically
reviewed Interim ORV Plan been allowed to move forward for four years.
In recent court testimony, without qualification, the Seashore
Superintendent said about birds and turtles, ``the trend is up''. The
statement is something the judge that issued a consent decree that has
denied extensive public access to the national seashore wants to hear
even though at each of the Status Conferences before the judge, the
Seashore Superintendent has explained to the Court that it is in fact
too early to ascribe a cause/effect relationship.
For turtles, production and sightings during the years of the
consent decree are up all along the Atlantic Coast, not just the region
governed by the consent decree. For birds, natural processes and
variability alone can produce such a statistically insignificant one or
two year ``uptrend'' for a very small number of birds in previous
years. The production and survival trend for two bird species in the
current 2012 breeding season appears to be down for this point in the
season when compared to the past two years.
(6) Data collected and published by NPS in recent years in no way
supports the claim by environmentalists that ORVs reduce the
productivity of birds. In fact, the data suggests that the Interim
Management Plan, prepared with public input and review in 2005 and
published in the federal register, was showing every sign of being
effective at protecting birds and natural resources.
Had best professional judgment been allowed, along with reasonable
public access, for the last four years under the consent decree we
would reasonably expect the same result in bird and turtle production
we see today, if not better.
The Interim Management Plan was set aside by the court and replaced
by the consent decree that mandated extensive closures. The closures of
recent years have been of exorbitantly high cost to the public, but
have not contributed to an improvement in species production or safety.
The consent decree has produced no natural resource benefit over and
above the Interim Plan. In fact, in the same year the consent was
issued, the fledge counts were higher under the Interim Plan than under
the consent decree. In a matter of weeks after the issuance of the
consent decree, the NPS in Washington and environmental activists in
Senate testimony disingenuously credited the restrictions of consent
decree, which had hardly been implemented, for improved bird counts
that were most probably the consequence of the Interim Plan and
enhanced monitoring implementation.
Using the same data to which environmental activists and NPS often
refer, 7 piping plovers fledged in 2008 under the Interim Plan, 6 in
2009 under the highly restrictive consent decree. 17 American
oystercatchers fledged in 2008 under the Interim Plan and 13 in 2009
under the highly access restrictive consent decree, the same management
structure now found in final ORV management plan.
(7) From a scientific viewpoint, ``best professional judgment''
closures are more effective and technically sound than closures imposed
by the Consent Decree and Final ORV Regulation. Smaller closures limit
the free movement of predators. They do not promote the food chain
manipulation and transformation in the ecosystem to the same extent as
the larger consent decree closures.
The huge closure distances in the consent decree and final plan
restrictions keep pedestrians and ORVs off the seashore while birds are
nesting. At the same time, the extensive closures also provide for the
proliferation and increased free movement of predators. In effect, the
extensive closures create an ecological trap for birds in that large
closure areas enhance predation.
Data at page 10 of 2011 American Oystercatchers Report indicates
that in 2008 under the Interim Plan, 22% of chicks were lost to
predation. Under the consent decree boundary restrictions 58% were lost
in 2009; 35% lost in 2010; and 42% lost in 2011. Since the
extraordinarily large consent decree boundaries have come into play,
the predation tend is ``up''.
Food chain manipulation is one way to promote unnatural bird
production. The technical provisions of the consent decree have been
the basis for the selective trapping and killing of bird predators.
Aggressive predator control during the years of the consent decree is
altering the ecosystem significantly for the sole benefit of selected
(8) Over the past 40 years, federal agencies have adopted formal
peer review policies to ensure they comply with the ``Hard Look
Doctrine''. Federal Courts expect agencies to take a ``Hard Look'' at
the science and not be informal or sloppy in their treatment of fact.
The National Park Service has failed to ensure a valid science basis to
a regulation that restricts public access to the national seashore. An
independent review to determine the validity of the so-called
``scientific fact'' never occurred during the consent decree
proceedings of the past four years. As a result, the public lost access
to the beaches of its national seashore. Such government inaction in
responding to and collaborating with politically powerful special
interests will only further public outrage and distrust of government.
Many of the references used to justify the final ORV management
plan are those of individuals and activists organizations who have
supported litigation that denies public access. The major science
references are authored by environmental activist organizations and
individuals trying to shut down ORV access to the national seashore:
Audubon, Blue Water, Hatteras Island Bird Club, etc. Many of the
references are outdated, biased, contain incomplete and misleading
information, and few have ever been reviewed in open forum. The main
science references are unsuitable and inappropriate as the basis for a
government regulation that restricts public access to the national
seashore and have significant negative impacts on the Outer Banks
The so-called ``USGS Protocols'' continue to be touted as ``best
available science'' in the development of the final ORV management plan
for the Cape Hatteras Seashore Recreational Area.
The USGS Protocols were cited as being ``in press'' 5 years after
they first appeared on the Park Service website. There was no date on
the document, no responsible federal official identified, no government
document number. The final publication was not accessible, publically
reviewed, or fully explained by government authority at the time the
DEIS was submitted to the public for comment.
In an introduction to the final release of the Protocols in March
2010, USGS states, ``Although no new original research or experimental
work was conducted, this synthesis of the existing information was peer
reviewed by over 15 experts with familiarity with these species. This
report does not establish NPS management protocols but does highlight
scientific information on the biology of these species to be considered
by NPS managers who make resource management decisions at
As indicated by USGS, the ``Protocols'' are really not hard and
fast science based protocols but suggested considerations rendered by
an ad hoc group. Such ad hoc suggestions can in no way be characterized
as ``best available science''.
The literature reviews found in the ``USGS Protocols'' as published
in final are significantly out of date. Many citations are over 20
years old and most are not related to the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore Recreational Area. The public does not have access to the
literature reviewed in this essential report and most of the citations
are so insignificant they cannot even be found in major university
libraries that have extensive environmental and natural resource
publications such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The following speaks volumes as to the lack of formality and
serious purpose of the ``USGS Protocols'' currently used as the excuse
for beach closures.
There is no public record that the protocols, which have
been the source of closures, have been officially peer reviewed
following USGS peer review policy. http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-
There is no public file, docket, or documentation of peer
review questions, comments, or author response.
There is no indication that the protocols were ever
published in a peer reviewed journal or publication or ever
referred to as what they are, management guidelines and
opinions as opposed to in-depth science assessment.
Scientists having any kind of conflict of interest
association, whether through membership, collegial
associations, funding, or grants must disclose the
relationship. Some authors and reviewers of the protocols were
members and associates of organizations now using the protocols
to restrict public access to the beaches of the national park,
a fact never disclosed openly and not in compliance with USGS
peer review policy.
As has been stated many times in public comment to the National
Park Service, the best course of action to resolve the matter of valid
science is to turn the science review and update over to the National
Academy of Sciences or some other neutral party, to objectively,
critically, and comprehensively review all relevant science, disclose
the facts and restore some public trust in the scientific process used
as the basis for environmental management decisions at Cape Hatteras
National Seashore Recreational Area. Most importantly, for the
restrictive provisions of the final ORV management plan, there is no
indication that NPS ever plans to revisit the USGS Protocols and the
science basis for closure boundaries.
The NPS fails to take hard look at the science that might
contradict its current justification for denial of public access to the
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
(9) Nowhere is a specific science basis, study or data, ever
presented, or published for a given bird management option, established
solely for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
Closure boundaries are overly restrictive at CHNSRA and are not
used at other NPS properties. There has been no administrative or
science based explanation given to the public for these uniquely
restrictive closures that limit public access to the seashore, other
than they are somehow in the primary interest of resource protection
and ``come down on the side of birds and turtles''.
No deaths of Piping Plover chicks or destruction of eggs by humans
are documented at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational
Area. More specifically, no Piping Plovers have been verified as lost
to ORVs accessing the national seashore as is often claimed by
environmental activists. The majority of nests and hatched birds the
past four closure seasons, and before, were lost to predation and
storms, one at the hands of a university researcher trying to band a
In the face of no documented Piping Plover loss due to human
activity, NPS, USGS and the contributing scientists have failed to
explain specifically why, by way of science justification, 1000-meter
boundaries, that prohibit public entry into an area up to 770 acres,
must be established every time a Plover chick is observed. The
literature indicates that on average Plover chick movement is less than
200 meters. The NPS claim in response to public comments that plover
chicks run further distances on Hatteras is a ridiculous excuse for
sound science. The public access denial consequences of such a
subjective management policy for a national seashore, which is set
aside for public access, is excessive, does not indicate a balance of
responsible usage, and fails to reflect reasonable or professional
The testimony outlined above carefully documents that there is not
a cause effect relationship to the restrictive provisions of the
consent decree. The special interest groups who want to severely limit
recreational access rely on flawed science that lacks integrity, peer
review, and without regard to the full consideration of the law, the
economy, and public use.
Now, more than ever, the people need federal agencies, such as the
National Park Service, to be held accountable for policies that have
hurt the people. Regulations at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Recreational Area are out of balance and unless remedied soon they will
have permanent consequences. The livelihood and future of our people
depends on the passage of S. 2372.
Statement of Annette Ratzenberger, on S. 2372
This bill will allow responsible human access to the Cape Hatteras
National Seashore Recreational Area--note this is not a wildlife
preserve but a ``Recreational Area''. The current restrictions imposed
by NPS as a result of the law suit by environmentalist organizations is
too strict and prohibits the intended use of this area. (Much of the
land was donated specifically so that future generations could enjoy
this beach). The environmentalist organizations have publicly stated
that their goal is to remove all humans from Hatteras island as
happened with Portsmouth Island. DO not let this happen. The current
restrictions are having a huge impact on the economics of Hatteras
Island and the families that have called it home for years. I care
about the environment and the survival of these shorebirds--they are
not endangered by any definition on the Atlantic Coast. The people of
Hatteras Island have always been good stewards of the land and
environment that surrounds them.... please return the pride and
responsibility of this stewardship back to them to work in concert with
Madison, WI, June 22, 2012.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
Chairman, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 304 Dirksen Senate
Building Washington, DC.
Dear Chairman Bingaman and Committee Members: We ask that you
support Senator Herb Kohl's S. 2158 to establish the Fox-Wisconsin
Heritage Parkway National Heritage Area.
The Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway has been seeking designation as
a National Heritage Area (NHA) for many years and if it is granted, it
will become the flrst NHA in Wisconsin. This bill was fust brought
forward in 2008 but did not pass and has been reintroduced in the
Senate by Senator Kohl and in the House by Congressman Tom Petri. We
hope that you'll support the creation of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage
Parkway National Heritage Area.
The Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway would be a great way for the
Country as a whole and the State of Wisconsin ro help recognize the
tremendous importance of these two rivers to out state's history and
development. The Fox and Wisconsin Rivers were of great importance to
the American Indians and were central to their daily lives. The
development of Wisconsin further progressed with the influence of
French missionaries, explorers and trappers, whom were told by the
natives, the American Indians, of a connection between the Mississippi
River and the Great Lakes. This led to Louis Joliet and Jacques
Marquette navigating Lake Michigan to Green Bay and nearly to the
headwaters of the Fox River, they portaged their canoes at the present
day city of Portage and resmned their journey on the Wisconsin River
and entered the Mississippi River in 1673. Their journey led to the
further exploration by Nicolet, Allouez, Radisson and others, all of
whom paved the way for the further exploration and expansion into the
American West. The Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway follows Joliet and
Marquette's momentous journey from the Mississippi River to Green Bay.
As Wisconsin became settled by European immigrants, the Fox and
Wisconsin Rivers became vital transportation routes and vital economic
drivers. As the country was spreadmg west, Wisconsin became an
important commercial center and shoppirtg place, providing a link
between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River routes. In addition, the
Fox and Wisconsin River Corridors became instrmnental to the
development of many industries that Wisconsin is famous for, including:
mining, agriculture,, logging, textiles, paper, and milling.
The rivers provided easy transportation of raw materials and
finished products and provided the power necessary to nm these
In the past century and particular in the past few decades we have
begun to recognize and promote the importance of consetvation along the
corridor. In Appleton and the Fox Cities, after dredging the river and
cleaning it up, we ate seeing businesses and entertainment return to
the rivet front. All of Wisconsin's ``fathers of conservation'' got
their start along the Fox Wisconsin Rivers. The rivers are now a key
part to the tourism and entertainment industries along their banks, we
need to make sure that we can properly protect, maintain and restore
the Fox-Wisconsin Corridor and having the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage
Parkway named a National Heritage Area is a great way to ensure that
generations to come can enjoy the fruits and beauty of the Fox and
We hope that you'll support Senator Kohl's bill to recognize the
tremendous economic and historic value of the Fox-Wisconsin corridor
and support the creation of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway National
* Additional signatures have been retained in subcommittee files.
State Representative, 42nd Assembly District.
Penny Bernard Schaber,
State Representative, 57th Assembly District.
State Representative, 3rd Assembly District.
Statement of Trish Nau, GIS Coordinator/Recreational Planner, East
Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, on S. 2158
I am writing this letter today in support of SB-2158, establishing
the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway in becoming a National Heritage Area
(NHA). For over 10 years, my staff and co-workers have been working
diligently on the mapping and reports for the Parkway along with the
Friends of the Fox and other partnerships throughout the region.
The Parkway offers a unique perspective to the history of Wisconsin
and provides many recreational opportunities for visitors to enjoy. The
banks of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers flow through a mix of urbanized
and rural areas. We can still follow the exact route that Marquette and
Jolliet took centuries ago, stopping at the forts and points of
interest along the fur trade. The lock sites along the Fox River have
also been starting to be refurbished and with it much history of their
lock tenders and houses.
The Parkway should be treated as a National Landmark with all the
history and character that accompanies the area. Please consider making
this region a National Designation and everything that goes along with
Statement of Richard D. Schramer, Mayor, City of Berlin, Berlin, WI,
on S. 2158
As the mayor of the City of Berlin that is situated on the Fox
River, I would like to speak in favor of bill S.2158, to establish the
Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway National Heritage Area. The efforts
undertaken by the City of Berlin have been to place Berlin back on the
Fox as a destination for tourism. This included restoring navigation
through the Eureka Lock by the efforts of the Berlin Boat Club and
$300,000 in private funding. This restoration effort of the lock
structure that was built in the 1860's, reconnects navigation from the
Lower Fox River and the Lake Winnebago system with points up stream
including Berlin and Princeton. Berlin is also performing waterfront
improvements to promote tourism and recreation as well as to promote
economic development of our downtown. Passage of this bill and
establishing this national heritage area solidifies our efforts to
promote this area's history, not only for Berlin, but for the entire
Fox River valley and Wisconsin River that served as the nation's
highway in the early days of our country's development.
Statement of Denny Caneff, Executive Director, River Alliance of
Wisconsin, Madison, WI, on S. 2158
I am writing in support of SB 2158, a bill, sponsored by Sen. Herb
Kohl, to establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway National Heritage
There are few rivers in the country that tell the story of Upper
Midwestern settlement and development like the Fox ru1d Wisconsin
rivers can. In recent years, the state of Wisconsin, municipalities and
local organizations have committed themselves to revealing those
stories in compelling ways. Parallel to those efforts is the work of
those same local governments and organizations to clean up the water
and protect the land associated with these rivers.
All in all, there may be no better candidate river systems for this
national designation than the Fox and Wisconsin. Such a designation
would not only commemorate the past but would honor the current good
works raising the profile and advancing the rich cultural and historic
legacy of these two great rivers.
Thank you for your consideration.
Statement of Mark Geall, Principal, RiverHeath, LLC, Appleton, WI,
on S. 2158
I am writing to support the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway. As a
child, I lived along the Fox River and used to fish from its banks with
my father. As I grew older, I recognized the river as a vital component
of Wisconsin's manufacturing operations. Now, many decades later I
realize the importance of preserving the rich history of the Fox-
Wisconsin river system as it flows across our State. These rivers have
played a key role in Wisconsin's history, and it is time to recognize
that significance and preserve it for the next generation. Please seize
this energy and enthusiasm coming from many different communities
across Wisconsin. A designated trail noting all of the historic places
would be a tremendous asset to this State and the National Heritage
Statement of Tracy Hames, Executive Director, Wisconsin Wetlands
Association, on S. 2158
I'm writing in support of Senator Kohl's bill S. 2158, the bill to
establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway as a National Heritage
The area delineated to be included in the National Heritage Area
contains some of the best examples of intact native wetlands in
Wisconsin. These areas include the Lower Wisconsin River & Wyalusing
State Park, Page Creek Marsh, Rush Lake, and White River Marsh. All of
these sites have been designated as Wetland Gemso by Wisconsin Wetlands
Association. Designation of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway as a
National Heritage Area will help call attention to these exceptional
wetlands, allowing them to be used as examples for wetland protection
and restoration throughout the state.
This bill has received bipartisan support at a federal level, high
commendation from the National Park Service and tremendous support from
Parkway citizens, communities, organizations, agencies and local
I am pleased to support designation of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage
Parkway as a National Heritage Area and the many positive benefits it
will bring to our region and the State of Wisconsin. I thank Senator
Kohl and his effort to recognize our region's rich cultural and natural
Statement of Candice Mortara, President, Fox-Wisconsin Heritage
Parkway, on S. 2158
Thank you for taking the time to consider this legislation. I have
been a full time volunteer for this effort for the past 4 years and am
very passionate about the asset that the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage
Parkway, once fulfilled, will be to the State of Wisconsin.
It has been an amazing gift to be involved with the Parkway effort.
We have over 55 people spread throughout the state giving countless
hours of their time to see this project come to life. They are excited
by the prospect of preserving the history and bringing it to the public
in a way that will help them identify with it and increase the pride
that they already feel for our state.
They are excited about the water trail and increased access to this
river that has been industrial most of its life and not something that
most wanted to access. To the great credit of the industries along the
river, due to their efforts, it has been brought back to lovely once
again. The eagles and pelicans are calling it home.
Our volunteers are also excited about the potential economic
development that is so important to the founders of this project. We
will be running it with a business mind, per se, so that we are
fiscally self-sufficient at the earliest possible moment. We will do
better by the state by building into our plan multiple revenue-
generating ventures so that we are not reliant on grant possibilities.
This will allow for greater stability and ease in planning.
We are unique in that we have not waited for the designation or the
federal money to begin. Our dedication and passion is so high that we
have completed the feasibility study, and will be completing the
interpretive master plan, the economic impact plan, the strategic
organization plan, and our quantitative measurement matrix prior to
even receiving the designation.
This means we will hit the ground running and all National Park
Service technical support and funding will go immediately to
So much has happened since we completed our feasibility study.
Please find attached a list of our current partners and our current
fundraising effort and total, as well as our 2011 Annual Report.
I thank you for your consideration,
Statement of Shahla M. Werner, Director, and Will Stahl, Conservation
Chair, Sierra Club--John Muir Chapter
The Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter is honored to have the
opportunity to submit comments on S. 2158, to establish the Fox-
Wisconsin Heritage Parkway National Heritage Area. We represent 15,000
citizens from throughout Wisconsin who strongly value the native
biological diversity, historical sites, and recreation provided by this
important public resource. We are, therefore, strongly urging your
Committee to support S. 2158.
S. 2158 will establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway as
National Heritage Area (NHA) with the National Park Service. This area
traces several scenic waterways across Wisconsin from Green Bay to Lake
Winnebago to Merrimac and Prairie du Chien. It includes several
historic landmarks, from the Appleton and Menasha locks to Aldo
Leopold's shack to the Merrimac Ferry to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin.
A National Heritage Area (NHA) is a region that has been recognized by
the United States Congress for its unique qualities. It is a place
where natural, cultural, historic and recreational resources combine to
form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape that tells an
important story about the natural and human history of the United
This national designation would bring many tangible and intangible
benefits for the Parkway and neighboring communities, including
increased protection for natural resources, recognition of the cultural
value of the area, increased educational opportunities for people
living in the region, and economic growth through tourism.
The unique features of the Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway warrant
protection as a National Heritage Area. Supporting this designation
would bring much-needed jobs to our state while at the same time
preserving for future generations natural resources and a historically
Thank you for considering our comments on this important issue, and
please contact us with any question or concerns.
Statement of Lisa Pauly, Chair, Historic Preservation Commission,
on S. 2158
This letter is written on behalf of the City of Fond du Lac
Historic Preservation Commission in support of Senate Bill 2158 which
would establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage National Parkway.
These two significant waterways, the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers,
through their connection to Lake Winnebago, have played an important
role in the history of the City of Fond du Lac and opening the
Midwestern United States to settlement. The establishment of the Fox-
Wisconsin Heritage Parkway would exemplify the outstanding natural,
recreational and historic resources of the State of Wisconsin from
Prairie du Chien to the Port of Green Bay.
A designation as a Heritage Parkway will help create additional
opportunities for historic interpretation, education, recreation, and
tourism within the City of Fond du Lac. The Historic Preservation
Commission supports efforts to establish a year-round heritage tourism
destination that will result in an overall boost to Wisconsin's economy
and the City of Fond du Lac's economy by enhancing and promoting
historic sites; promoting local events; developing scenic routes;
providing outdoor enthusiasts with more recreational activities and
public access and bringing new businesses and jobs.
There are only 49 heritage parkways in the United States, none of
which are in the State of Wisconsin. Senate Bill 2158 to establish the
Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway presents a unique and exciting
opportunity to highlight Wisconsin's great natural, recreational and
Statement of Eileen Fielding, Executive Director, Farmington River
Watershed Association, on S. 2286
Mr. Chairman, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this
bill. I am submitting remarks on behalf of the Farmington River
Watershed Association (FRWA), a private non-profit organization founded
in 1953 to preserve, protect, and restore the Farmington River and its
watershed, and based in Simsbury, CT. FRWA played a leading role in the
designation of 14 miles of the Farmington River's West Branch as a Wild
& Scenic River in 1994. FRWA likewise led in promoting Congressional
legislation authorizing the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook
Wild & Scenic Study, and has had a representative on the Lower
Farmington Wild & Scenic Study Committee since its inception in 2007.
FRWA supports S. 2286 because we believe strongly that Wild &
Scenic designation provides an appropriate and effective way to
encourage and support local stakeholders who work cooperatively on
river management. With Wild & Scenic designation, representatives from
various user groups can work together to implement a plan that all have
participated in creating. The Partnership Wild & Scenic model that was
pioneered on the Farmington West Branch in the 1990s has proved very
successful. It has fostered long-term collaborations among diverse
users of the river and has catalyzed local initiatives and matching
support for river projects that improve our valley's communities. In a
state with no county-level government and many strongly independent
townships, a program that brings town representatives together for
creative stewardship of a common resource is critically important.
A strong point of the Partnership W&S model on the West Branch is
that the federal support is not used exclusively by a single entity,
but is parceled out by the W&S coordinating committee to assist many
river-related projects undertaken by towns, land trusts, other NGOs,
students, and independent contractors as they work together on river
protection and management. Augmenting our local resources with W&S
funding and Park Service technical help promotes a unified approach and
maximum leverage for federal dollars. The same approach will work well
in the 10-town area of the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook, as
demonstrated by the extraordinary success of the Lower Farmington Study
Committee over the last five years as they prepared the W&S management
plan for the lower river and Salmon Brook, and conducted extensive
outreach and education that resulted in widespread support for
Along with our strong support for the bill, we wish to point out
that the major purpose of designation through the Wild & Scenic River
Act is to maintain the free flow of a river, with exclusions allowed
for pre-existing dams and impoundments. FRWA, along with the Wild &
Scenic Study Committee, made every effort to accommodate the need to
protect Stanley Black & Decker's existing hydro operation, with the
understanding that ``existing'' means no future increase in the height
of Rainbow Dam. Maintaining the current height of Rainbow Dam (i.e.,
the current height of the permanent structure, plus its 6-foot
flashboards) was the intention behind agreeing to the Spoonville Dam
site as the upper boundary of the exclusion area. We've been careful to
confirm that that location is a very generous allowance for eventual
FERC licensing of the existing hydropower dam and impoundment. However,
the latitude provided by this boundary should not be interpreted as
implied agreement to allow a higher dam or flashboards at some future
date. New language in the bill, specifying the present dam height,
could clarify this point.
Keeping to the present height of Rainbow Dam has several benefits.
It safeguards a nationally-known whitewater recreation run in Simsbury
that lies just upstream of the proposed boundary. It will also prevent
any permanent rise in average water surface elevation along the river
in the towns of Bloomfield, East Granby and Simsbury. These towns
supported Wild & Scenic designation with that expectation, and their
interests would thus be respected.
As to the downstream boundary for the Rainbow Dam / Rainbow
Reservoir exclusion area, FRWA favors the language now in the bill, as
most fully protecting the free-flowing condition of the river. In
contrast, one proposed alternative boundary would enlarge the exclusion
by more than two miles downstream, to retain an option of developing a
small hydropower site. Weighed against the cost of development, the
likelihood of permitting, and the impact of a new dam on the ongoing
restoration of the river's fisheries, the overall community benefit of
this option is genuinely debatable.
In conclusion, I would like to express our appreciation for the
considerable efforts to reach a fair agreement on the part of all who
have participated in the drafting of this bill. We look forward to its
passage as an example of far-sighted protection and management of our
remarkable river resources for the benefit of the Farmington Valley
Statement of Frank M. Harvey, on Behalf of Stanley, Black, & Decker, on
Mr. Chairman: My name is Frank W. Harvey, Director of Real Estate
for Stanley, Black & Decker (SBD). Our company is headquartered in
Connecticut and employs 1200 people in state operating tool plants and
other facilities. SBD's facilities, property and operations would be
impacted by designation of the Lower Farmington River as a component of
the Wild and Scenic River (WSR) system. We appreciate this opportunity
to present our views regarding S. 2286.
SBD has consistently represented that it would like to be able to
support legislation designating the Farmington River and continues to
take that position. Support for WSR designation legislation, however,
has been contingent on resolution of two specific issues: (1) adequate
protection for the operations and maintenance of the existing Rainbow
Dam and (2) appropriate treatment of another hydroelectric dam site
held by SBD near the Route 75 Bridge across the River.
A hydroelectric dam was constructed at the Rainbow site in the late
1800's and was the world's first hydroelectric plant to transfer power
to a remote site--Hartford, some 11 miles away. The dam was rebuilt in
1925 and has provided electricity continuously since then. Today the
power generated at Rainbow Dam is used at SBD's New Britain tool plant
via a power exchange and provides additional green energy to the local
Earlier draft versions of S. 2286 (and H.R. 4360) designated
portions of the Rainbow site within the WSR and this action would
likely have adverse impacts on operations including flowage rights. SBD
noted this problem and we appreciate that the sponsors have modified
section 3 of the bill to exclude the reach of the River from the old
Spoonville Dam downstream to the Rainbow Dam. This exclusion resolves
one of SBD's primary concerns.
Even with this exclusion, we remain concerned that the WSR
designation upstream and downstream from the Dam could impact its
operations. To that end, we suggest that S. 2286 be modified to include
language in section 4(e) stating that the designation and
administration of the WSR will not affect the management and operation
of Rainbow Dam including the storage, management, and release of water.
Identical language has been previously enacted to address similar
situations and the Snake River WSR designation in Public Law No. 111-
11, section 5002(e)(6) employs such language. Incorporation of such
language will address SBD's concerns regarding prospective impacts on
the Rainbow facility and operations.
SBD's other primary issue is the impact of WSR designation on the
use of, or value, of SBD's hydroelectric site near the Route 75 bridge.
Plainly, WSR designation of this reach of the River would foreclose
future hydroelectric development of this site. SBD acquired this
property and site with full expectation that it could be used for
hydroelectric development. And while SBD has no immediate plans for a
new dam or other structure on this property, our shareholders'
interests are served by maintaining our historic and present ability to
license such projects at this site. Given the uncertainties surrounding
energy supplies in the U.S. and the world, SBD is also persuaded that
the possibility of additional green energy in this part of Connecticut
ought not to be foreclosed. Exclusion of this site from the WSR would
be accomplished by amending section 3 to designate a 6.1 mile reach of
the Farmington River starting 2.5 miles downstream from Rainbow Dam.
We are aware of the strong interest in barring development on this
site and including these lands, and reach of the River, within the WSR.
As a result, SBD is prepared to consider an alternative approach that
ensures it realizes the full value of these interests for its
shareholders. A provision could be added to the bill establishing a
process for prompt acquisition of the site from SBD and post-
acquisition addition of these lands to the WSR. Acquisition would be
for fair market value reflecting that the highest and best economic use
for the site is hydroelectric development. This would provide for
conservation of the site without diminishing the value and expectations
presently held by SBD. Modification of S. 2286 to either exclude this
hydroelectric site or provide for its prompt acquisition for full value
as discussed above are acceptable alternatives for SBD.
SBD has appreciated the attention, time, and good faith efforts of
WSR proponents to work with us on these issues and concerns. We are
hopeful that incorporating into S. 2286 the additional changes
discussed above will enable a Farmington River WSR bill to move quickly
with the full support of SBD and the greater Connecticut community.
Statement of Helen Keith and Carolyn Keith Silvia currently of
Huntington, Vermont and Bridgewater, Massachusetts respectively
(Daughters of the Honorable Hastings Keith (R-MA 1958-1972), who
represented Cape Cod and other contiguous areas (then the 9th District)
of Massachusetts during the development and passage of the legislation
creating the Cape Cod National Seashore.)
on s. 2316
Thank you very much for allowing my sister and me to put
information before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
and its Sub-Committee on National Parks' June 27th hearing on S 2316.
We offer information on the Cape Cod National Seashore, its local
history and the effort to bring the park to fruition through the
intense negotiations, hard work, much time and worry by many key
people, in its creation. What follows is a brief summary, followed by
the reasons we believe the Salt Pond Visitor Center should not be
renamed at all, and a set of resources for further information on the
history and roles of a number of leaders that helped create this
national and local treasure.
On September 3, 1959, Senator Saltonstall, Senator Kennedy, and
U.S. Representative Hastings Keith who represented the Cape, filed
concurrent legislation to establish the park. On August 7th 1961,
President Kennedy signed the bill and it became law. This piece of work
was guided by Kennedy, Saltonstall and Keith (and very importantly
their staffs) over a period of several years. For many years prior to
this there were efforts to develop a national seashore park that
involved a number of people including Tip O'Neill and Congressman
Boland and many others too numerous to mention here.
Our Dad, Hastings Keith, entered into his first term as a US
Congressman representing Cape Cod, the Islands, most of Plymouth
County, and New Bedford and at that time part of Fall River,
Massachusetts. The issue of the creation of a national park was a hot
one--having the prior Congressman for the Cape state that ``there would
be no seashore except over his dead body'' (Burling's The Birth of the
Cape Cod National Seashore, page 17). But the new Congressman Keith was
committed to working things out, listening to the towns and the
townspeople, creating a locally designed, acceptable, seashore
preservation and feeding into the work of the Saltonstall--Kennedy
staffs. A relatively young Congressman, in his first term he wanted
very much to represent his district well. He took the work of
developing legislation for the CCNS very seriously and spent much of
his time, in those first years, meeting with town representatives,
property owners (pro and con) and others dedicated to preservation of
certain lands that would become the heart of the park. Many ``tear out
your hair'' kind of meetings occurred. We didn't get to see him much
during that time. And--our family is proud that he worked so hard on
what was and has become a national treasure.
why not to rename the salt pond visitor center in the cape cod national
The reasons we write to you now have to do with the well-intended
but not appropriate (somewhat paraphrased from a portion of the June 3,
2012 Cape Cod Times Editorial) push to rename the Salt Pond Visitor
Center to the ``Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Salt Pond Visitor Center'' to
honor Tip on his 100th birthday. We would like the efforts to honor Tip
to be redirected.
The following issues outline why we and others think there should
be no renaming of anything in the CCNS.
There is opposition to both S 2316 and HR 4400 from those on the
Cape and those who know the history of the Cape Cod National Seashore
(CCNS) park. Please see attached editorial and articles from Cape Cod.
There has been no public hearing on the Cape to get the views and
recommendations of the people who live there. There needs to be a
public hearing on the Lower Cape (not in Washington DC) to hear about
what the MA delegation has determined to be a good way to honor Tip.
While the current bills (S 2316 and HR 4400) acknowledge Tip's role
in some aspects of the development of the Cape Cod National Seashore,
it is only a slice of the truth. The bills appropriately describe many
of his wonderful accomplishments. The truth is that many others had a
much more direct role in its every day development; and, there are too
many to honor in this manner. No one wants a feeding frenzy of re-
naming ceremonies that would attempt to decide who needs to be honored
the most. The natural names that are a part of the CCNS' long history,
going back to early Native American times should not be changed to
There have been several histories of the Cape Cod National Seashore
written including the following two: Francis P. Burling's 1979 book
entitled The Birth of the Cape Cod National Seashore published by the
Leyden Press, Inc. and Charles H.W. Foster's 1985 The Cape Cod National
Seashore A Landmark Alliance published for Tufts University by the
University Press of New England. These published histories, in addition
to describing the roles and actions of Kennedy, Saltonstall and Keith,
illuminate the critical role that the staff members (in particular
David Martin of Senator Saltonstall's office and Fred Holborn of then
Senator Kennedy's office) played in the drafting and negotiating of
issues that resulted in the final Kennedy--Saltonstall--Keith bill that
was signed into law in 1961.
One of the unique aspects of the legislation included the
establishment of the Advisory Commission, a first we believe for a
national park. That Advisory Commission exists today. It took no stance
on S2316/HR 4400 in its May 2012 meeting. In fact it was not even on
the agenda according to Cape Cod Times report of the meeting by Mary
Ann Bragg on May 22nd 2012. ``The renaming was not listed on the
commission's agenda for the May 21st meeting.'' Apparently
Superintendent Price brought it up at the end of the meeting and there
was brief discussion and no action taken. Please see article attached
for conjecture on why no statement was made (the attachments have been
sent to Committee staff for the record).
There are other ways to honor Tip's leadership roles in so many
things and especially his dedication to bipartisanship in key actions.
This has already happened through the naming of a federal building and
parking garage and a tunnel. His legend does live on!
The unintended result of the current S 2316 is an inaccurate and
jarring action, disrupting the names in the CCNS. This effort does not
reflect the alliances and everyday hard work that really happened to
preserve/conserve this natural treasure. There was no local input and
little opportunity for true public input. Again we recommend that no
action be taken to rename anything in the CCNS.
recommended next steps
It is our recommendation to let this bill calm down and sleep for a
time, perhaps redirecting the honoring part to the naming of another
building, the City of Cambridge, or a bridge or have a big celebration
in Boston, raise money and donate it to a worthy cause that Tip would
have liked, maybe to the CCNS as our Dad did. Hastings Keith directed
that donations made in his name upon his death in 2005 be made to the
Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore. However, his name does not
need to be on a visitor center.
Again S 2316 is a well-intentioned effort, but the effort needs to
be re-directed to honoring Tip in other ways.
Thank you for your thoughtful deliberations on this matter.
We are submitting several attachments to be used with this memo for
the record. The attachments support the stance above that there should
be no renaming of anything in the Cape Cod National Seashore because so
many people shared the work at many different levels in its creation
and because we should not put human names into sacred, historic places
when we have the chance to not do so.
The attachments cited below, have been sent to Committee staff for
the record, are as follows:
Cape Cod Times articles and editorials from May 22nd 2012 Cape Cod
National Seashore Advisory Committee meeting article Mary Ann Bragg
June 2nd 2012 Keith's kin: Drop `Tip' renaming effort for seashore
article Mary Ann Bragg
June 3rd 2012 Tip of the hat, editorial staff
June 1961 Washington Report (not printed at government expense)
Newsletter from Congressman Keith, 9th District, Massachusetts on the
history of the legislation and analysis of its present status.
Cape Cod Today: AP article reprinted on July 11th 2011 in a series
of what happened today: House Approves Bill to Create A National Park
at Cape Cod. ``. . . WASHINGTON, July 10 (AP) The house today passed by
a roll-call vote of 278 to 82 a bill sponsored by Representative
Hastings Keith, Republican of Massachusetts, to create a 25,700 acre
national seashore area along the outer coast of Massachusetts' Cape Cod
. . ..''
Excerpts from Francis Burling's 1979 book The Birth of the Cape Cod
National Seashore and Excerpts from Charles H.W. Foster's 1985 The Cape
Cod National Seashore A Landmark Alliance
Information is also available from the Library of Congress, and
several web sites, including those at the Bridgewater State University
and the Cape Cod Community College. Please go to http://
www.capecod.edu/files/nickerson/keith.html and http://www.capecod.edu/
files/nickerson/seashore.html. These collections include working papers
related to the Cape Cod National Seashore of former Congressman
Hastings Keith who represented the Cape during these times.
Editorial Article from Cape Cod Times.--Tip of the Hat
In life, Thomas ``Tip'' O'Neill was a political force of nature.
The late Speaker of the House championed numerous liberal causes and
served as the point man for the Democrats, especially during President
Ronald Reagan's two terms in office. He sometimes used his position as
a bully pulpit, wielding his power more effectively than many
It therefore comes as little surprise to learn that in this year,
the 100th anniversary of his birth, those who knew and respected the
man, known to many simply as ``Mr. Speaker,'' would be seeking
appropriate ways to keep both his name and legacy alive as a model for
the next generation. It is only right and just that this be done.
However, the current effort by some of the state's congressional
representatives to rename the Cape Cod National Seashore's Salt Pond
Visitor Center in his honor is as misguided as it is well intentioned.
The logic behind the honor is understandable. Although his house in
Harwich was a second home, O'Neill often brought his considerable
influence to bear on behalf of the Cape. He was a strong and early
proponent for the creation of the National Seashore, as well as
Chatham's Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. He advocated for Harwich's
town marina and was an erstwhile supporter of the Family Pantry.
O'Neill also believed in compromise in a way that is difficult to
imagine when one considers the ideological impasse that Washington,
D.C., has become. In the 34 years in which O'Neill served in the House,
it was not unusual for political opponents to battle over matters of
policy by day and to share a beverage and a laugh or two the same
evening. Reagan, who shared O'Neill's gregarious nature, if not his
political persuasions, almost certainly respected his rival as much as
he disagreed with him at times.
After his death in 1994, O'Neill assumed almost legendary status
within the Democratic Party, especially in Massachusetts, where he was
particularly beloved for his mantra that ``all politics is local.''
Perhaps better than anyone before or since, O'Neill understood that one
needed to look out for one's constituents if he expected to be returned
to office. But O'Neill also understood that no one person is
responsible for progress; that politics is a team sport, and that it is
the team, not the individual, that celebrates any victory, or
commiserates over any loss.
The National Seashore Advisory Commission recently declined to take
an official stance on the matter. Although a number of representatives
said that they opposed the move on principle, some also suggested that
it would be politically unwise to challenge the effort.
There were hundreds of people at the local, state and national
level, including U.S. Rep. Hastings Keith, Sen. Leverett Saltonstall
and President Kennedy, who helped move the National Seashore from vague
concept to vibrant reality. There is no question that O'Neill played a
vital role in that process and should be remembered for his part in the
effort. But to do so to the exclusion of the many others who put their
reputations and lives into what can truly be called a national treasure
would do a disservice, not only to them, but to a man who truly
believed in a team effort.
Statement of Brenda J. Boleyn, Truro, MA, Former Member CCNS Advisory
Commission (1990-2011), on S. 2316
To honor the late Tip O'Neill on the 100th anniversary of his birth
is a laudable objective; to do so by renaming the Visitor Center at
CCNS is a case of misguided site selection.
Those who know the CCNS also know the many players who shaped its
As I wrote in a letter last month to the House subcommittee
reviewing this bill, the honor ``will be perceived as inappropriate
recognition for work done by others. And I believe that, were he here,
Mr. O'Neill would be uncomfortable with that reality.''
This bill is ill-advised. I hope that it is not too late for its
sponsors to find another way.
Please vote NO on S 2316; leave the name of the Salt Pond Visitor
Thank you for receiving my testimony.
Statement of Mary-Jo Avellar, Representative to the Cape Cod National
Seashore Advisory Commission, on S. 2316
I am Provincetown's representative to the Cape Cod Advisory
Commission and served for many years with Brenda Boleyn, whose
I am in full agreement with Ms. Boleyn and with the daughters of
the late Rep. Hastings Keith who have also written you in opposition to
the naming of the Salt Pond Visitor's Center in Eastham for the late
Speaker Tip O'Neill.
Although I recognize and respect the late Speaker for his enormous
contributions to the country and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I
feel that this bill is ill-advised at best and undermines the memories
of so many others who were extremely instrumental in establishing the
Cape Cod National Seashore. I cite in particular Pres. John F. Kennedy,
Sen. Leverett Saltonstall and Rep.Hastings Keith.
In addition, a federal building and the ``big dig'' tunnel have
already been named in honor of Speaker O'Neill. It is my feeling and
belief as Provincetown's representative to the CCNS Advisory Commission
that naming this facility in honor of the Speaker without holding
public hearings here on Cape Cod is a disservice to my town and to the
other five towns who live within the confines of the Seashore. Those of
us who live in these six communities remember very well those members
of the Congress whose hard work and that of their staff members led to
the creation of this beautiful Seashore 51 years ago. In the interests
of fairness, citing one member of the Congress over the many others who
worked as a team to make the Seashore a reality is an insult to the
three primary individuals, namely Pres. Kennedy, Sen. Saltonstall and
Please add my testimony to the Subcommittee hearing scheduled for
June 27, 2012 and forward this testimony to Sens. Udall, Bingham,
Murkowski and Paul.
Statement of Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., Vice President for Government
Relations and Public Policy, National Trust for Historic Preservation,
on S. 3300
The National Trust for Historic Preservation appreciates the
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' Chairman Jeff Bingaman's
leadership introducing S. 3300, legislation to establish the Manhattan
Project National Historical Park. We are also grateful for Senators
Lamar Alexander, Maria Cantwell, Tom Udall, and Patty Murray's
leadership in co-sponsoring this legislation.
I am Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., National Trust for Historic
Preservation's Vice President of Government Relations and Public
Policy. The National Trust is a privately-funded nonprofit
organization, working to protect America's historic places to enrich
the lives of future generations. With headquarters in Washington, D.C.,
12 field offices, 27 historic sites, and partnering organizations in 50
states, territories, and the District of Columbia, the National Trust
provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national
network of people, organizations and local communities committed to
saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping
the future of America's stories. For more than 20 years, the National
Trust has advocated for the preservation and enhancement of historic
and cultural resources on federal public lands.
The top-secret Manhattan Project has been called ``the single most
significant event of the 20th century.'' The Manhattan Project brought
an end to World War II, altering the role of the United States in the
world community and effectively setting the stage for the Cold War. The
creation of the atom bomb brought an end to World War II fostering
advances in the newly emergent fields of chemotherapy, high-speed
computer technology, genomics, and bioengineering.
The facilities associated with the Manhattan Project were top-
secret, hidden in rural locations and their perimeters bound with
security fencing. The project's classified status demanded sites be
situated beyond the range of enemy aircraft, isolated from population
centers yet accessible to a ready labor supply as well as rail and
motor transportation. Sites possessed enough land to erect laboratories
and secret towns which would house scientists, construction workers,
and their families. Specific laboratories--the Los Alamos Laboratory,
New Mexico, the Oak Ridge Reservation, Tennessee, and the Hanford Site,
Washington--were central to the mission and were established to support
research. Constructed of wood-frame, masonry, and poured concrete, the
laboratories were where these weapons were to be created and then be
dismantled at war's end. The buildings that survive to the present day
are important to the interpretation of the Manhattan Project and the
round-the-clock drive to complete its mission. The laboratories
retaining architectural integrity and are considered eligible for
National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark
(NHL) designation. These sites, owned and managed by the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE), were listed on the National Trust for
Historic Preservation's List of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic
Places in 2009, with the Enola Gay Hangar at Utah's Wendover Airfield
representing threatened Manhattan-era properties. In 2011, the National
Trust named Manhattan Project resources to its National Treasures
program, an initiative dedicated to saving the places that tell
America's stories through the engagement of a wide range of people and
partners in strategic campaigns to protect these irreplaceable places.
manhattan project background
The Manhattan Project is the unparalleled story of a nation coming
together for common cause. Work began modestly, but the initiative
quickly grew to employ more than 130,000 people nationwide. Sixty
percent of all expenditures for the Manhattan Project supported
research occurring at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which functioned as the
project's administrative headquarters. It was the Oak Ridge Reservation
which focused exclusively on three methods of uranium enrichment--
electromagnetic separation, gaseous diffusion, and liquid thermal
In 2000, the DOE named eight ``Signature Facilities'' of the
Manhattan Project. DOE's goal was to move forward in preserving and
interpreting these properties by integrating departmental headquarters
and field activities and joining in a working partnership with all
interested outside entities, organizations, and individuals, including
Congress, state and local governments, the Department's contractors,
and various other stakeholders. Though certainly a prestigious
designation, the listing does not preclude building deterioration or
demolition of historic facilities affiliated with the Manhattan
These eight ``Signature Facilities'' include Hanford's B Reactor
and T Plant Chemical Separations Building; Oak Ridge's K-25 gaseous
diffusion plant, Y-12 Beta-3 Racetracks, and X-10 Graphite Reactor; Los
Alamos' V-Site Assembly Building/Gun Site; the Trinity Site owned by
the Department of Defense and the Metallurgical Laboratory at the
University of Chicago.
Designed in 1943 to produce the enriched uranium necessary to an
atomic weapon, K-25 was central to the Manhattan Project's mission and
illustrates the enormous scale and ambition of the Manhattan Project.
At the time of its construction, K-25 was the largest building in the
world located beneath a single roof, its U-shaped footprint
encompassing 43 acres. Purposed to enrich Uranium 235, and its
scientists pressed to begin the uranium enrichment process, crews
initiated construction before the building's overall design could be
completed. However, the footprint and some of the skeletal structures
and a small original portion may be preserved to convey the gigantic
effort and resources. The small remains left of K-25 are currently
threatened with demolition by the DOE.
The Y-12 electromagnetic facility was the first to break ground in
1943. With the region's former farmsteads removed in the fall of 1942,
engineers initiated construction of Y-12's nine uranium enrichment
buildings and the hundreds of warehouses, cooling towers, office
buildings, and laboratories required to support the work. Construction
advanced at such a rapid pace that in December 1945, the Engineering
News Record described the achievement as the equivalent of having
constructed the Panama Canal within a period of 12 months. Building
9731 known as the Y-12 Pilot Plant for isotope separation and research
was the first non-administrative building at the Y-12 complex. It was
completed in only eight weeks, serving as a pilot building for
experimenting with electromagnetic separation techniques. It is
eligible for National Historic Landmark designation.
The Y-12 facility which houses the Beta-3 Electromagnetic
Separation Racetracks was state of the art technology for fifty years.
It is one of only two plants in the world capable of producing over 200
stable isotopes. Building 9204-3 houses working calutrons. The
calutrons remaining at Y-12 today represent the only surviving
production-level electromagnetic isotope separation facility in the
United States. The enriched uranium produced by Y-12's calutrons
ultimately created the weapon detonated over Hiroshima.
The X-10 Graphite Reactor construction was begun in 1943. Designed
as the pilot plant for reactors later constructed in Hanford,
Washington, the Graphite Reactor produced the world's first significant
amounts of plutonium, proving that plutonium production could be
achieved. Hanford, Washington's B Reactor was subsequently completed in
1944, becoming the world's first reactor to produce plutonium on a
large-scale. The X-10 Graphite Reactor is in its original condition and
currently serves as a museum where visitors can examine the reactor
face and control panels.
The laboratories erected at Los Alamos, New Mexico, were
constructed on the grounds of the former Los Alamos Ranch School, a
boy's boarding school which was situated approximately 40 miles from
Santa Fe. Established in 1928, the school's 800-acre campus contained
Fuller Lodge, a rustic log-constructed building which met the school's
administrative needs and a scattering of rustic outbuildings. Acquired
by the Army in 1942 for inclusion in the Manhattan Project, the
school's rural campus was soon overrun by barracks and chemistry and
By 1944, Los Alamos was home to the ``V-Site,'' the lab in which
the world's first plutonium bombs were assembled. ``The Gadget,'' code
name of the prototype ``Fat Man'' bomb detonated over Nagasaki, was
assembled here. Today, the community retains historic residential
buildings and public spaces dating from the World War II period. Los
Alamos' visitors will have unique opportunity to walk the same paths as
the giants of 20th century physics.
The B Reactor was completed 1944, becoming the world's first
reactor to produce plutonium on a large-scale. The B Reactor was built
on a significantly larger scale at 250 megawatts compared with the X-10
Graphite Reactor which produced only 4,000 kilowatts of power. Two
additional Reactors, D and F were built and the three lined the banks
of the Columbia River in order to have access to the water used as a
coolant at the reactors.
The B Reactor has over two-thousand aluminum tubes and two hundred
uranium slugs. The water from the Columbia River was first treated and
then pumped through the aluminum tubes around the uranium slugs at the
rate of 75,000 gallons per minute through huge motor-driven pumps.
These three reactors produced plutonium for the Trinity device, the
Nagasaki weapon and Cold War weapons. The D and F Reactors have been
demolished and entombed, but the B Reactor building is currently
accessible via limited, ticketed public tours. The TPlant was one of
two chemical separation plants at Hanford designed to remove the
plutonium from the uranium slugs. Only one atom in every 4,000 was
converted to plutonium in the process so chemical processing was
necessary to separate the elements by dissolving the uranium and
processing the solution through several process cells. The elements
were too radioactive to be handled directly so all processing was
through remote control and closed circuit television. The T Plant was
later used for other work, but it still stands at Hanford today.
permanent preservation and interpretation
On October 18, 2004, President George W. Bush approved Public Law
108-340, ``The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Study Act.''
The act directed the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, in
consultation with the Department of Energy, to conduct a study for the
preservation and interpretation of historic sites associated with the
Manhattan Project. At its conclusion in July 2011, the Feasibility
Study determined resources located in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and
Hanford possessed the national significance required for designation
and were suitable for inclusion in the National Park System. The
National Trust for Historic Preservation fully endorses this
We recognize this designation will be accompanied by controversy.
History is often fraught with complexity, and it is for this reason the
National Trust supports creation of the Manhattan Project National
Historical Park. Anyone who has visited National Park Service units
like Little Bighorn, Manzanar, Andersonville or Little Rock Central
High School, understands that these National Parks are authentic
sites--the places where history happened--and not places of
celebration. The National Park Service's mission in these locations is
to preserve and objectively interpret what is often complex and
contentious history, so current and future Americans have opportunity
for a deeper understanding of seminal events.
The National Trust believes historic sites associated with the
Manhattan Project are no less worthy of National Park recognition.
Present and future generations of Americans all deserve the opportunity
to see and learn about our nation's history through the unbiased and
balanced interpretation of the National Park Service and to draw their
own conclusions about how the Manhattan Project changed the world.
Recognizing that sites associated with the Manhattan Project are places
of commemoration, Pulitzer-prize winning historian Richard Rhodes
describes these authentic places in this way: ``The factories and bombs
that Manhattan Project scientists, engineers, and workers built were
physical objects that depended for their operation on physics,
chemistry, metallurgy, and other natural sciences, but their social
reality--their meaning, if you will--was human, social, political. The
same is true of Williamsburg and Bandelier and the Declaration of
national trust for historic preservation recommendations
We respectfully request the Senate also consider the following
Authorize user/entrance fees. The National Trust supports
language recognizing DOE's responsibility to maintain its
assets. We respectfully request legislation authorizing a
modest entry/user fee purposed for assisting with the long term
stewardship needs of non-DOE-owned assets.
Donations authority should be broad. The National Trust
requests legislation ensure the acceptance of both personal
property and financial donations to support the National
Historical Park and tours of the sites. We suggest language
establish the necessary structure ``to accept, hold,
administer, and use gifts, bequests, and devises (including
real and personal property, labor and services), for the
purpose of preserving and providing access to, historically
The National Trust for Historic Preservation applauds the National
Park Service and the Department of Energy for their successful
collaboration. We anticipate this innovative partnership will bring
many benefits to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park,
creating a model which may be replicated by other agencies. We look
forward to working with you, and request that National Park designation
be completed by the close of the 112th Congress.
American Civil Liberties Union,
Washington, DC, July 11, 2012.
Hon. Mark Udall,
Chairman, Subcommittee on National Parks, Committee on Energy & Natural
Resources, 304 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
Hon. Rand Paul,
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on National Parks, Committee on Energy &
Natural Resources, 304 Dirksen Senate Office Building,
RE: ACLU Concerns with S. 3078, World War II Memorial Prayer Act
Dear Chairman Udall and Ranking Member Paul: On behalf of the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a non-partisan organization with
more than a half million members, countless additional activists and
supporters, and 53 affiliates nationwide dedicated to the principles of
individual liberty and justice embodied in the U.S. Constitution, we
write to express concerns with S. 3078, which would require that an
inscription of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's D-Day prayer be added
to the WWII Memorial. This attempt to play politics with religion
detracts from the stated purpose of the memorial--national unity.\1\
\1\ American Battle Monuments Commission (AMBC), National WWII
Memorial, Facts, http://www.wwiimemorial.com/
default.asp?page=facts.asp&subpage=intro (``Above all, the memorial
stands as an important symbol of American national unity, a timeless
reminder of the moral strength and awesome power that can flow when a
free people are at once united and bonded together in a common and just
Memorials are designed to bring our country together in a unified
reflection of our past. S. 3078, however, endorses the false notion
that all veterans are honored by a war memorial that includes a prayer
given from a specific religious viewpoint. During this subcommittee's
June 27 hearing on S. 3078, the bill's lead sponsor, Senator Rob
Portman, stated that the inclusion of the prayer would reflect our
country's ``Judeo-Christian heritage and values.''\2\ But, our nation
is, and always has been, extraordinarily religiously diverse; this is
one of our nation's great strengths. Department of Defense reports show
that nearly one-third of all current members of the U.S. Armed Forces
identify as non-Christian.\3\ Likewise, many of our veterans and
citizens come from a variety of religious backgrounds, or have no
religious belief. Instead of being something that unites us as we
remember the sacrifice of those who served, the inclusion of a prayer
on the memorial, which is described as reflective of specific religious
beliefs is divisive: It ``sends a strong message of . . . exclusion''
to those who do not share the same religious beliefs.\4\ The First
Amendment affords special protections to freedom of religion. Because
of these protections, each of us is free to believe, or not believe,
according to the dictates of our conscience. These beliefs are too
precious to be used for political purposes, as this bill would do.
\2\ Misc. National Parks Bills Hearing Before the Subcomm. on
National Parks of the S. Comm. Energy & Natural Resources, 112th Cong.
(2012) (Statement of Senator Rob Portman) available at http://
\3\ Religious Diversity in the U.S. Military, Military Leadership
Diversity Comm'n, Issue Paper No. 22 (June 2010).
\4\ See Trunk and Jewish War Veterans v. City of San Diego, 629 F.
3d 1099, 1124-25 (9th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 567 U. S. ---- (2012).
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a co-sponsor of this bill, stated on the
Senate floor that in offering this prayer, President Franklin D.
Roosevelt was "bring[ing] faith and God in a very inclusive and
nondiscriminatory way into our public life." 158 Cong. Rec. S3748 (June
6, 2012) (floor statement of Sen. Lieberman). However, including this
prayer in the World War II Memorial will exclude those veterans and
other visitors who do not share those beliefs.
The memorial, as it currently stands, appropriately honors those
who served and encompasses the entirety of the war. The World War II
Memorial Commission and the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)
carefully chose the thirteen inscriptions already included on the
memorial. The inscriptions contain quotes spanning from the beginning
of U.S. involvement in the war following the attacks on Pearl Harbor to
the war's end, and already include a quote from D-Day and two quotes
from President Roosevelt.\5\ These commissions thoroughly deliberated
which inscriptions to include, selecting quotations that honor those
who served and commemorate the events of World War II.\6\ ``The design
we see today was painstakingly arrived upon after years of public
deliberations and spirited public debate.''\7\ Not surprisingly, the
ABMC and National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission, which was
designated by Congress to consult on the design of the Memorial,\8\
have stated that ``no additional elements should be inserted into this
carefully designed Memorial.''\9\ Senator Portman's assertion that the
World War II Memorial needs to be improved to provide ``historical
context to [the] memorial'' and add ``another layer of
commemoration''\10\ is simply not the case. This bill should be seen
for what it is, playing politics with religion.
\5\ AMBC, National WWII Memorial Inscriptions, http://
\6\ National Parks Service, World War II Memorial Inscription
Controversy available at http://www.nps.gov/wwii/photosmultimedia/
upload/WWII%20Memorial%20Inscription%20Controversy%20web.pdf. This is
not the first time that religion has generated controversy regarding
inscriptions on the WWII Memorial. After the World War II Memorial
Commission and the ABMC selected quotations to inscribe in the
memorial, there was a ``maliciously generated and widely distributed
notion'' that the phrase ``so help us God'' was removed from the quote
selected from President Roosevelt's address before a joint session of
Congress following the Pearl Harbor attacks. In fact that phrase was
never part of the speech at all and was, therefore, not omitted from
the quotation. Id.
\7\ Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1980, H.R. 2070, H.R. 2621, and
H.R. 3155 Before the Subcomm. on National Parks, Forest and Public
Lands of the H. Comm. on Natural Resources, 112th Cong. (2012)
(Statement for the Record from National Park Service, U.S. Department
of the Interior) available at http://www.doi.gov/ocl/2006/
\8\ Commemorative Works Act, 40 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 8901-09. Although
S. 3078 would apply the Commemorative Works Act, it is written to
sidestep the Act's provisions. It would either override the authority
established under the Act to approve the WWII Memorial's design by
adding an additional element nearly a decade after the memorial was
dedicated or, if the prayer inscription is to be considered a new
memorial, it would circumvent the Act's stipulation that new memorials
not ``interfere with, or encroach on, an existing commemorative work.''
40 USC Sec. Sec. 8904-05; see also House Hearing, Statement for the
Record from National Park Service. The House version of this bill (H.R.
2070) would exclude the prayer inscription from the Commemorative Works
\9\ House Hearing, Statement for the Record from National Park
\10\ Senate Hearing, Statement of Senator Rob Portman.
Please contact Legislative Counsel Dena Sher at (202) 715-0829 or
[email protected] if you would like to discuss the ACLU's concerns with
Laura W. Murphy,
Director, Washington Legislative Office.
Dena S. Sher,
Statement of Chris Long, President, Ohio Christian Alliance, on S. 3078
We are honored to submit this letter of support for S. 3078, the
WWII Memorial Prayer Act, legislation that will include FDR's D-Day
Landing Prayer at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. We would like
to express appreciation to Senators Portman and Lieberman for their
cosponsorship of this legislation.
Sixty-eight years ago, on the morning of June 6, 1944, as Allied
forces were landing on the beaches in Normandy, President Roosevelt
went to the airwaves and prayed with our nation for God's blessing and
protection upon our brave fighting men. He prayed, ``Almighty God: Our
sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a
struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization,
and to set free a suffering humanity. . ..''
President Roosevelt's prayer articulated the great crusade that was
underway to liberate millions suffering under tyranny. He honored the
war effort and paid respect to the fallen and those veterans who fought
courageously in the conflict. It is only fitting that succeeding
generations learn of this prayer that was offered at that most poignant
moment in our nation's history. We are encouraged by the support that
this legislation is receiving. Veterans and veterans groups across the
nation are in support of adding FDR's D-Day Landing Prayer to the WWII
Memorial in Washington, D.C. This prayer represents an important piece
of American history. Historians indicate that President Roosevelt hand
wrote the prayer which was an inspiration to a nation engaged in a
great world war of which the outcome was still very much uncertain. The
prayer gave hope to millions of Americans.
We therefore urge members of this subcommittee to support the WWII
Memorial Prayer Act and pass the legislation that will allow its
placement at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. We commend Senators
Portman and Lieberman, and the co-sponsors of this historic
Statement of Americans United for Separation of Church and State,
on S. 3078
Founded in 1947, Americans United is a nonpartisan educational
organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of
church-state separation as the only way to ensure true religious
freedom for all Americans. We fight to protect the right of individuals
and religious communities to worship as they see fit without government
interference, compulsion, support, or disparagement. Americans United
has more than 120,000 members and supporters across the country.
We submit this written statement to express our objections to S.
3078, which calls for the installation of a plaque or inscription with
a prayer at the World War II Memorial in the District of Columbia,
which was dedicated in May 2004. We believe that inserting the prayer
acts contrary to the Memorial's goal of uniting Americans and defies
the design judgments reached through a rigorous process.
It is true that ``each visitor views the memorial through their own
experience, which sometimes results in their questioning aspects of the
design.''\1\ But this questioning, no matter how heartfelt, should not
reopen the design process. For example, since the Memorial's
dedication, soldiers have requested amendments to add the Battles of
Cassino, Bougainville and New Georgia; asked for changes to recognize
the Canal Zone; and advocated for the inclusion of campaign ribbons.\2\
These requests were denied.\3\ As explained in a letter written in 2006
by the American Battle Monuments Commission, ``The government agencies
for the design of the memorial . . . consider it complete, recognizing
that the full story can never be captured in a memorial.''\4\
\1\ Letters from Michael G. Conley, Director of Public Affairs, The
American Battle Monuments Commission, Complaint letters to The American
Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) from the public and/or members of
Congress concerning battle monuments 3, http://www.governmentattic.org/
docs/ABMC_ComplaintLetters_2006-7.pdf (ABMC Response Letters).
\2\ Id. at 3, 25, 37, 50.
\4\ Id. at 3.
inserting this prayer contradicts the main message of the memorial--
One of the main themes of the World War II Memorial is unity: ``The
memorial serves as a timeless reminder of the moral strength and the
awesome power of a free people united in a common and just cause.''\5\
Adding a prayer to the completed Memorial, however, does not serve the
theme of unity. Instead, it introduces an element to the design on
which many Americans disagree--religion.
\5\ Thomas B. Grooms, U.S. General Services Administration's Design
Excellence Program in the Office of the Chief Architect, World War II
Memorial Online Book 25 (2004), http://www.wwiimemorialfriends.org/
docs/WWII_Memorial_Book_Completed.pdf; see also id. at 56 (explaining
that the Memorial design was chosen because it "created a strong sense
of unity-the bringing together the nation-with the two colonnades
representing the states); id. at 65 (during the design process,
``overall, the peers sought to keep the site as `green' as possible
while ensuring the integrity of the design vision, particularly the
theme of national unity . . . .'') (WWII Memorial Online Book).
When Senator Rob Portman and Senator Joseph Lieberman spoke about
the bill on the Senate floor upon its introduction, they both noted the
religious significance of adding the prayer. Senator Portman explained
that the new inscription will be a ``permanent reminder of . . . the
power of prayer through difficult times.''\6\ And Senator Lieberman
stated his belief that the prayer will ``remind us that faith in God
has played a pivotal role in American history every day since the
Declaration of Independence.''\7\
\6\ ``Portman Commemorates D-Day with WWII Memorial Prayer Act on
Senate Floor,'' June 6, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/
But America's military, like the nation itself, is extraordinarily
religiously diverse. Our veterans--like our currently serving troops--
come from many different religious traditions and some follow no
spiritual path at all. Indeed, a 2009 report by the Department of
Defense ``tracks 101 faiths for active-duty personnel'' and notes that
``almost 281,710 claim[ed] no religion.''\8\
\8\ Bob Smietana, Buddhist Chaplain is Army First, USA TODAY, Sept.
8, 2009, http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2009-09-08-buddhist-
Adding a prayer that represents some, but not all veterans and
members of the military, defies the theme of unity, making many feel
unrepresented by the Memorial. The current Memorial represents all 16
million service members who served in our armed forces during World War
II. There is no need to alter the Memorial to depict one particular
view of God, causing some veterans to feel excluded.
the designers of the memorial called for fewer inscriptions, not more
The process of choosing the inscriptions for the World War II
Memorial was exhaustive and done with expertise and should not be
reopened. Robert Abbey, the director of the Bureau of Land Management,
testified that ``the design we see today was painstakingly arrived upon
after years of public deliberations and spirited public debate.''\9\
Indeed, ``the inscription selection and review process involved two
American Battle Monuments Commissions (one appointed by President
Clinton, one appointed by President Bush), the Memorial Advisory Board,
military service and civilian historians, the Library of Congress, the
National Park Service, and the Commission of Fine Arts.''\10\ During
this process, ``the number, locations, words, and authors to be
represented [on the memorial] changed often.''\11\
\9\ Hearing on H.R. 1980, H.R. 2070, H.R. 2621, and H.R. 3155
Before the Subcomm. on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands of the
H. Comm. on Natural Resources, 112th Congress (2011) (testimony of
Robert Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management).
\10\ ABMC Response Letters at 3.
\11\ World War II Online Book at 76-79.
\11\ Id. at 76.
As part of the inscription approval process, the American Battle
Monuments Commission created a Review Commission, whose membership
included historians and retired Army Generals, to review proposed
inscriptions for the monument.\12\ This Review Commission called for
``Fewer Words--Less Inscriptions.''\13\ The Review Commission ``decided
to reduce the number of inscription locations from 25 to 20 and to
emphasize evocative quotations from World War II participants--
including Roosevelt, Truman, Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, and
\12\ Id. at 76-79.
\13\ Id. at 76.
\14\ Id. at 79.
Adding additional inscriptions to the monument, therefore, goes
against the vision, expertise, and design of those who designed the
the commemorative works act
As explained in our letter to Members of the Subcommittee, S. 3078
defies the Commemorative Works Act (CWA). The original design process
included ``more than two dozen public reviews,'' and ``numerous
informal design review sessions with members of the evaluation board
and design competition jury.\15\
\15\ Id. at 65.
And, as explained above, the inscriptions themselves were also
subject to significant review. Adding additional inscription
disrespects the original process and the current design.
Statements at the hearing challenged this claim because S. 3078
calls for the design of the new inscription or plaque to also go
through the CWA process. The fact that the plaque itself must be
approved through the CWA process does not undo the fact that the
Memorial's design is being reopened and altered or that the painstaking
decisions made in the original process are being overruled. The bill
demands that a specific inscription be added. Even if the exact
location and the font of the inscription will be reviewed under the
CWA, it does not cure the fact that the insertion of the plaque
violates the design process and, at a minimum, the spirit of the CWA.
the mlk inscription on the lincoln memorial
Statements were also made at the Subcommittee hearing challenging
our claim that redesigning aspects of a Memorial more than a decade
after its dedication is nearly unprecedented. Proponents of S. 3078
claim that adding the prayer to the World War II Memorial is akin to
adding an inscription at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate Martin
Luther King's ``I Have a Dream Speech.'' But the MLK plaque is wholly
different.\16\ That plaque did not re-litigate the content and message
of the Lincoln Memorial: it did not alter, remove, or add language,
images, or emblems relating to the honoring of President Lincoln. It
did not second guess the designers, historians, architects, or public
input regarding the best way to honor Lincoln at the memorial. Instead,
it left the Lincoln Memorial intact and commemorated it as the site for
a historical event. In just a few words, the inscription commemorated
Martin Luther King, Jr's speech: the inscription includes the words ``I
HAVE A DREAM,'' and acknowledges the speaker, the event, and the date.
Inserting a new inscription among those chosen for the memorial,
therefore, is easily distinguishable from inserting the inscription
marking the ``I Have a Dream'' speech onto the Lincoln Memorial.
\16\ In addition, actions to fix spelling errors and misquotes or
to add names to Vietnam Memorial are also easily distinguishable.
Our forefathers were wise when they called for our nation to
separate church and state. It protects the autonomy of religious
institutions and ensures that Americans have the right to believe--or
not--as they choose without government intrusion or influence. A quick
search on the internet on S. 3078 demonstrates why passing legislation
imposing civil religion is dangerous for religious liberty--articles,
blogs, and emails are riddled with inflammatory statements challenging
the religion of government officials who opposed changing the Memorial
and demonizing some as anti-prayer and anti-Christian.\17\ Even when
unintended, such results are neither good for religious freedom nor our
nation as a whole.
\17\ In 2004, false information was also spread that the designers
of the World War II Memorial purposefully deleted the words, ``so help
us God'' from a sentence inscribed on the Memorial. In truth, the
sentence from the speech that included those words was never even
included on the Memorial and so claiming the words were omitted is
misleading and false. ABMC Response Letters at 46 (``The inclusion or
exclusion of religious references was never an issue, nor was it ever
discussed''). But that falsehood is still being circulated today and is
used to disparage certain officials as anti-religious, and hostile to
God. Unfortunately, some of this rhetoric is being mixed into the
messages pushing for the prayer inscription.
The Memorial, as designed, is purposely short on words yet
certainly evokes a powerful message of unity.\18\ And, in contrast to
some of the rhetoric that is being generated by this debate, the
monument already acknowledges that faith was important to many soldiers
during the war.\19\ There is no need to take extraordinary steps to
reopen the Memorial to add a prayer.
\18\ Its goal ``was supposed to be a memorial to inspire, not a
museum to teach.'' World War II Online Book at 66.
\19\ The monument quotes Walter Lord: ``. . .Even against the
greatest of odds, there is something in the Human Spirit--a magic blend
of skill, faith, and valor--that can life men from certain defeat to
incredible victory.'' World War II Online Book at 97 (emphasis added.).